Did you know physiotherapy can assist patients with vertigo?
A bad spell of vertigo can leave people feeling very debilitated. Symptoms include nausea, vomiting and difficulty walking. There are many causes of vertigo, or dizziness, which include: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo BPPV, acute vestibular neuronitis or labyrinthitis, Meniere’s disease or migraine disorders. This article focuses on BPPV, which is the most common of vestibular disorders and the most easily treated.
Within our inner ear system, we have canals that contain a gelatinous type substance, hair cells and calcium crystals. This system detects where our head is in space and where our head is in relation to the rest of our body. If the crystals become detached from their normal location they can stimulate the hair cells, which in turn gives the wrong feedback to the brain. This creates a discrepancy in the information our brain receives and causes us to feel as though our body is spinning, or the environment around us is spinning.
The Dix-Hallpike maneuver is used to diagnose BPPV. This test consists of 2 maneuvers, which each bias a certain ear, to determine which ear is causing the symptoms. The test is designed to replicate the symptoms of dizziness or nystagmus (rapid, involuntary eye movement). It can be unpleasant, however, it is important to determine if this is the true cause of the symptoms.
In clinic, The Epley Maneuver is used to treat BPPV. This treatment consists of a series of positions that the therapist guides the patient through, to help reposition the calcium deposits back to their normal location. This step-by-step maneuver can be repeated five or six times until the dizziness resolves. After the treatment, it is important for the patient to stay upright and even prop themselves up while sleeping, to maintain the positioning of the crystals.
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