Is Constant Dizziness Interfering With Your Life? A Physical Therapist Can Help

Health & Medical Blog

Dizziness often is a symptom of various medical conditions including low blood pressure, diabetes, arthritis, and Parkinson disease. Certain medications and inner ear disorders such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can cause vertigo and lightheadedness as well. The sensation of dizziness can give you balance problems and make you unsteady on your feet, a combination that puts you at higher risk of falls.

The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders reports, at some point in their lives, an estimated four out of 10 Americans will suffer dizziness severe enough to see a doctor. If you are a victim of a vestibular or other balance disorder, your participation in physical therapy can help you feel less dizzy and get you moving better.

Goals of Physical Therapy

Whether the cause of your dizziness is a vestibular disorder (inner ear disorder) or other health condition, the goals of physical therapy focus on helping you manage the dizziness while carrying on with your normal daily activities. Learning how to cope with your dizziness is the first step.

Although you may not be able to eliminate the symptom entirely, your physical therapist will show you different ways to do things so you don't feel as dizzy. But to be successful, you need to tell your therapist what activities make you feel tired and dizzy. Describe your symptoms in detail and point out what kinds of activities make your symptoms worse.

Techniques a Physical Therapist May Use

The treatment plan a physical therapist develops for you will depend on your particular problem. Along with vestibular exercises to improve your balance function, your therapist may include exercises to improve your overall flexibility and strength. Your treatment program may also include walking or other low-impact aerobics to improve your general fitness. The more active you are, the better your chances of improving your dizziness and balance.

If a vestibular disorder is the cause of your symptoms, in addition to the physical therapy you receive in an outpatient clinic, your therapist may include a home exercise program in your treatment plan. Your therapist will instruct you on how to perform special exercises 2 or 3 times a day.

Although by doing these exercises, you will be bringing on the symptoms, as you progress through the program, your symptoms will decrease. However, not everyone can move through the maneuvers themselves and need the assistance of a physical therapist.

Engaging in other activities on your own that involve head movement and visual stimulation can help reduce vestibular problems. In other words, perform activities that require you to use your eyes while your head and body are in motion.

Complications to Watch For

Whether you perform vestibular exercises at home or a clinic, report any:

  • Pain in your neck and back when you do the exercises.
  • Ringing in your ears that wasn't there before.
  • Pressure and pain in your ear.
  • Changes in your hearing.

If any of these symptoms occur while you are performing the exercises at home, discontinue the exercises and contact you physical therapist or doctor at places like Bronx Physical Therapy & Rehabilitation.


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