Can physical therapy treat vertigo?

Have you ever stood up and felt like the room was spinning around you? This means that you’ve experienced a balance issue called vertigo. 

Vertigo is a disorder of your vestibular system that causes a feeling like the room is spinning. It can also lead to nausea and vomiting. Physical therapists can offer treatment for issues that cause vertigo.

What vertigo-causing issues can physical therapy treat?

There are two types of vertigo that can be treated with physical therapy:

  1. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) This type of vertigo is caused by little “rocks” in your vestibular system that float around and cause incorrect signals to your brain about your head position.
  1. Vestibular lesions — This is a dysfunction in your vestibular system that causes inability to maintain your balance when walking. It can also lead to an inability to focus when turning your head.

What are symptoms of these two types of vertigo?

Your physical therapist can help you learn the specific symptoms that come along with BPPV and vestibular lesions. In turn, this can make your vertigo treatment more effective. Some of the symptoms these two issues can cause include: 

  • BPPV — This form of vertigo can cause you to feel dizziness and the room spinning whenever you change your position. For example, if you bend forward to pick something up, when you go back to a standing position you can experience these symptoms. They can occur in all other types of motions, too, such as getting up from your bed, getting up from a sitting position and rolling over in bed. 
  • Vestibular lesions — This issue causes different symptoms depending on what you’re doing. When you’re walking, it typically feels like you veer to one side or the other. When you have to turn your head quickly, you will likely feel dizzy and lose the ability to focus.

How do physical therapists treat vertigo?

Physical therapists offer multiple treatment options for different forms of vertigo. The treatment methods they include in your plan will be personalized to your needs and what type of vertigo you have. Here are some common treatment techniques used for BPPV and vestibular lesions: 

  • BPPV — To treat BPPV, you need to perform certain maneuvers to get the “rocks” that are floating around back to where they need to be. This will allow your vestibular system to start sending the correct signals again. BPPV can usually be resolved in about three to four physical therapy sessions, but it can take longer for some patients.
  • Vestibular lesions — Just like strengthening a muscle, you need to challenge the vestibular system to improve its function. However, unlike BPPV, it does take longer to resolve. There’s an exercise that can help relieve your symptoms, and it’s called X1 viewing. To do this exercise: 
  • Start by sitting in a chair while looking at a stationary object.
  • While maintaining eye contact with the object, turn your head left and right. Do not take your eyes off the object.
  • Do this for 30 seconds, and repeat four times.
  • You can progress to standing when minimal to no dizziness is experienced with this exercise while sitting.

Find effective vertigo treatment at Back in Motion Physical Therapy

Our team at Back in Motion Physical Therapy can help you get the treatment you need for your vertigo. We’ll start by performing a free screening designed to reveal what type of vertigo you have. Then, our specialists will construct an individualized physical therapy plan for you that’s intended to reduce the frequency of your vertigo symptoms. We even offer therapy services that you can use at home, including virtual care and at-home therapy appointments.

Contact us today for more information about how we can help you with vertigo or to schedule an initial appointment. 

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