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Vertigo & Dizziness 

Dizziness can be a range of sensations including feeling light-headed, faint, woozy, unsteady or off-balance. Vertigo is a type of dizziness that feels as though you or your surroundings are spinning.

Dizziness is often caused by illnesses that affect the inner ear, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), migraine and inflammation of the inner ear balance apparatus (called vestibular neuritis). 

Dizziness may also be caused by low blood pressure, some heart problems (such as cardiac arrhythmias), anxiety disorders such as panic attacks or (uncommonly) by hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Also, by stress & tightness around the shoulders and neck.

While some people understandably find it difficult to describe their dizziness, a description of a person’s dizziness and the circumstances in which it occurs may be very helpful in reaching a diagnosis.

Symptoms of dizziness and vertigo:

Descriptions of dizziness may include: 

  • a sensation of movement (including spinning), either of yourself or the external environment

  • unsteadiness, including finding it difficult to walk in a straight line

  • light-headedness

  • feeling faint.

 

Other symptoms that may accompany dizziness include: 

  • headache

  • nausea and vomiting

  • ringing or other sounds in the ears (tinnitus)

  • difficulty hearing

  • staggering gait and loss of coordination (ataxia)

  • unusual eye movements, such as flitting of the eyes (nystagmus)

  • finding it difficult to see clearly when moving, for example, when reading a sign while walking or driving.

 

The inner ear and balance

Inside the inner ear is a series of canals filled with fluid. These canals are oriented at different angles and, as the head moves, the movement of the fluid inside these canals tells the brain how far, how fast and in what direction the head is moving.

This information is then used by the brain to move the eyes an equal and opposite amount so that the image that is ‘seen’ by the eyes does not blur and remains clear.

 

Causes of dizziness and vertigo

A wide range of conditions and diseases can cause dizziness, including: 

  • inner ear problems – disorders of the inner ear account for about half of all cases of persistent (ongoing) dizziness. Such disorders include Meniere’s diseasebenign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular neuritis

  • anxiety disorders – stress or anxiety may play a role in causing dizziness or, more commonly, may be a contributing factor in dizziness from other causes, such as inner ear disease

  • brain disorders – a common cause of dizziness is migraine, even without the headache that most people associate with a migraine. Very rarely, other causes of dizziness can include stroke or other brain diseases

  • other conditions – some cases of dizziness are due to underlying medical conditions such as low blood pressure, infection, some heart problems (such as cardiac arrhythmias) and hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). Medications that are used to treat conditions such as epilepsy, coronary heart disease and high blood pressure can also cause dizziness in some people

  • unknown causes – although a cause may not be found in some people, it does not necessarily mean that these people cannot be helped by the appropriate treatment.

 

Diagnosis of dizziness and vertigo

In trying to work out the cause of a person’s dizziness, investigations may include: 

  • medical history, including careful questioning about the nature of the dizziness

  • physical examination, which may include observing eye movements, positional testing and a blood pressure check

  • specialised hearing or balance testing 

  • CT or MRI scans of the inner ear or brain

  • other tests relating to specific conditions.

 

Treatment of dizziness and vertigo

Treatment depends on what your doctor thinks is causing your dizziness. 

Potential treatment options may include: 

  • canalith positioning procedures – a special set of exercises designed to remove inner ear ‘crystals’ in benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Epley manoeuvre is the most common and it effective form of treatment in about 60% of cases. 

  • migraine prevention medication

  • medication to dampen the sensations of dizziness

  • anti-nausea medication

  • balancing exercises to ‘retrain’ the nervous system (usually prescribed by a vestibular physiotherapist)

  • counselling and cognitive behaviour therapy – where anxiety or stress is a factor.

How can I help?

Izabela @ Life Iz Motion is a trained Musculo-Skeletal Therapist, Pilates Instructor, Dynamic Neuromuscular Stabilization trainer, and NeuroKinetic practitioner. Proficiently assessing and effectively treating these conditions. Her individual approach includes:

  1. Subjective assessment - it's not only a discussion about your goals and lifestyle but also a deep dive into your history to determine the root cause(s) and establish a diagnosis.

  2. Goal setting - yes, this is first, establishing your expectations, gaining clarity as to what you want out of the session, defining my and your role in the healing process, and linking these to an individual timeframe.

  3. Objective assessment - these are any necessary orthopedic tests and measurements to ensure we monitor progress and improvements.

  4. A holistic view - I look at all key elements - healthy nervous system, internal balance, sleep, stress, nutrition, belief system, and even alignment of to your core values.  Our bodies are dynamic and the state of mind will influence the body and vice versa, this relationship is often overlooked by other therapists.  

  5. A treatment plan - Having defined our roles in the healing process we will work towards eliminating the root causes of the issue, treatments might include massage, dry-needling, electro dry-needling, shockwave therapy, joint manipulation, and exercise programs (Pilates, Yoga and movement retraining). This plan will be emailed to you so you have a record and a reference of your progress.

  6. Ongoing prevention - attractive maintenance packages available, small group Pilates or exercise rehabilitation classes. 

 

My approach focuses on restoring the inherent balance, getting you better in the quickest possible way, and making sure you can get out there doing what you love.

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