Recently I had treated a 57 year old lady referred to me by one of our other physiotherapists. She had been consulting her initial physio for treatment of ongoing neck pain following a car accident 12 months previous. During one of her visits, she had mentioned to her therapist that she was experiencing spinning sensations with particular head movements. This prompted her referral to me to investigate any vestibular cause for her symptoms.
Signs and symptoms
The client had been experiencing this spinning sensation at varying intensities since the time of the accident. When experienced, the spinning was short lived, but quite severe and she felt at risk of falling at times. Fortunately, the spinning would stop if she would stop and rest, but she had to avoid quick movements, bending over, and she also avoided heights. She had sought advice from another health professional who had suggested that this was possibly due to hormonal changes or aging. Dizziness, imbalance, and falling is not a normal part of aging.
Diagnosis and treatment
During her initial visit, I conducted an evaluation to identify the cause of her dizziness/vertigo. Her presentation was consistent with a condition known as Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo (BPPV for short). Put simply – small crystals important to the function of her vestibular organ were loose and floating around where they didn’t belong. Treatment conducted the same day was aimed at moving the crystals back to their correct location. She had several precautions to follow for the rest of the day and she was to follow up with me during the next week.
At her follow up a week later, she reported that she had not experienced any of the spinning or imbalance that she had been having for the past year and was “back to normal”.
The treatment for this condition is quite quick and usually effective the 1st time. Unfortunately she was experiencing dizziness for a year before making her way to me for treatment, but now there is only a 30% chance that she will experience any problems with this in the next 3 years. Not all vestibular conditions are as easily treated, but in many cases there is something that can be done to either diminish or resolve symptoms. If you know of anyone who is having issues with dizziness, vertigo, or imbalance, please feel free to call and schedule a vestibular evaluation.
Hopefully we, at Entire Health, can help.
Daryl Ewing – Physiotherapist
MPhty, BSc (ExSci), OCS (ABPTS)