Balance is quite a complex achievement. It requires information from our inner ears, our eyes and messages coming from our lower limbs – these three systems all send information about where we are in space back to our brain which then oversees and makes appropriate corrections to keep us feeling steady.
Vertigo is not a diagnosis but a symptom. It describes a sense of motion, either inside the head or in the world around us, when no actual motion is occurring. Terms such as “spinning”, “rotating”, “rocking” and “tilting” are often used to describe the sensation experienced during an attack of vertigo.
How is vertigo caused?
Vertigo can be caused by a disturbance of the inner ear or of the brain.
The commonest cause of Vertigo is BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo). It is an inner ear disturbance caused by the movement of tiny particles of calcium carbonate called “Otoconia” into one of the three semicircular canals. Typically the vertigo is brought on by certain head movements – usually rolling over in bed, getting up out of bed and looking up or down. The vertigo lasts up to a minute and may be accompanied by nausea and vomiting. Sometimes BPPV can be caused by a blow to the head, but mostly it just happens. The incidence of BPPV is higher in older persons.
The second commonest cause of Vertigo is Vestibular Migraine. Here the migraine causes vertigo, nausea and vomiting and in about 30 percent of cases, there is no actual migraine headache experienced at the same time.
What are other types of vertigo?
There are other causes of vertigo including Vestibular Neuritis, Meniere’s Disease and brain related causes such as Stroke and disorders of the Cerebellum.
Imbalance (also known as Disequilibrium) refers to unsteadiness when standing or walking and may be accompanied by falls. Balance disorders may include symptoms such as dizziness and/or vertigo, but not necessarily.
Dizziness refers to anything that is not vertigo or imbalance – for example: lightheadedness, fogginess, giddiness are all terms used to describe dizziness.
How can Regent St Physio help with my vertigo?
Vestibular Physiotherapists are trained to assess and treat disorders causing vertigo, dizziness and imbalance. The commonest conditions treated are:
• BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
• Vestibular Neuritis
• Certain brain related Balance disorders
• Cervicogenic Dizziness (treatment of neck related dizziness)
Initial Consultations last for one hour and involve a comprehensive assessment of the inner ear, eye movements and balance. Follow up appointments are generally for thirty minutes. It is recommended that someone accompany you to your initial visit. A doctor’s referral is not required unless the disorder is related to Workers Compensation or Third Party.
Get in touch with our team today to book your physiotherapy appointment.