Vestibular Physiotherapy addresses issues with your vestibular system. Your vestibular system commonly causes symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, spinning, nausea and at times vomiting.
What is Vertigo?
Vertigo is a symptom describing the sensation of dizziness, or the movement of surroundings around you. There can be a number of factors that can result in vertigo which include; cardiovascular, spinal, your inner ear and other medical conditions. A common cause, which is easily treated by physiotherapy is a condition affecting the inner-ear called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV.
What is BPPV and what causes it?
BPPV is a condition that is characterised by intense episodes of dizziness which usually last 10 – 20 seconds, or longer and is usually dependent on head movement such as changing positions in bed.
The exact cause of BPPV is not conclusive, it is thought to be caused by calcium fragments floating freely around the semi-circular canals, the balance apparatus of the inner ear. This results in a mixed message of balance which confuses the brain, resulting in symptoms of vertigo.
Do I need to have a diagnosis to see a physiotherapist for vertigo?
If you have symptoms of vertigo it would be highly recommended to see a physiotherapist for an assessment. They will assess your symptoms, treat as appropriate and just as importantly, refer on if necessary to investigate any other possible causes.
What to expect from Vestibular therapy?
Physiotherapy will target the semi-circular canals in your ear by doing specific manoeuvres to alternate head positions and ‘sweep’ the canals clear. Initially this treatment can feel very unpleasant as it will likely exacerbate the vertigo, but it can be very successful and, in many cases, immediately abolish all symptoms. However, it is likely you will have to alter behaviours or bodily positions in the short term and continue with some self-guided manoeuvres at home.