Dizziness is a common experience that most of us have at some point in our lives. It is one of the leading reasons that adults see a doctor. Although dizziness is typically not life threatening, it can have a major impact on daily functioning. Dizziness can be experienced in a variety of ways. Light headedness, imbalance, feeling of floating or being woozy, or a sensation that the room is spinning (vertigo) are all common forms.
Vestibular System (Balance System)
To understand the different types of dizziness, you need to have a basic understanding of the vestibular system or balance system. Your sense of balance comes from sensory input from the inner ears, eyes, and the sensory receptors in your joints. These three components work together to provide a sense of where your body is in space and how it is moving to maintain balance.
A disruption of any of these components can result in conflicting information being sent to the brain. These mixed messages lead to dizziness or balance disorders. As a simple example, think about how hard it is to walk smoothly across a grass lawn if you are blindfolded.
Causes and Treatments
Nevertheless, some dizziness and balance problems can be quickly addressed with only 1 or 2 sessions of PT. For instance, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This occurs when crystals dislodge from the utricle in the inner ear and find their way into the semicircular canals. It is one of the most common types of vertigo that produces the sensation of the room spinning. A physical therapist can resolve the symptoms through a series of positional maneuvers that move the crystals out of the canals.
Additionally, there are a variety of issues that include dizziness and balance problems as symptoms, such as:
- Ear infections
- Inner ear injury
- Meniere’s disease
- Low blood pressure
- Low blood sugar
- Neurological disorders like a stroke or Parkinson’s disease
A physical therapist can complete a thorough evaluation to diagnose and treat. The process can include:
- Teasing out what components in the vestibular system are impacting balance
- Assessing your fall risk
- Working with you to establish a treatment plan that will best meet your needs.
Is Dizziness Normal?
Dizziness and balance issues are not considered a normal part of aging. You don’t need to live with it. Enablr has a team of physical therapists who can help you or a loved one with dizziness or balance issues.
View our Therapy Services page.