Dizziness & Vertigo

Dizziness and vertigo are disabling conditions which can have several causes. Disturbances of the vestibular system, neurological system and the upper cervical spine can all result in dizziness, vertigo, poor balance, falls and light headedness. Accompanying symptoms can be blurred vision and nausea. 

Dizziness is described as a feeling of spinning in the head whereas vertigo is a feeling that the world around you is spinning or moving. These symptoms suggest that the vestibular system has been disrupted.

Diagnosis is necessary to determine the cause of the dizziness.  This usually involves provoking the symptoms with eye, head, neck or total body movements. Sometimes more than one area is affected.  Even if not the main cause, the vestibular system is frequently involved, especially if the condition is of long standing.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV is a condition where the small crystals in the inner ear have come loose and become trapped in a semicircular canal. When the head moves into certain positions, like looking up and rolling over in bed, the crystals are disturbed resulting in dizziness. The crystals can be correctly relocated with a technique called Epley’s Manoeuvre.

Vestibular retraining involves repeated movements which aggravate the symptoms.  Exercises need to be patient specific and progressed as the symptoms improve.  The vestibular sense needs to be challenged with higher level activities to achieve complete resolution.

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