Dizziness, imbalance, and falls are common and significantly interfere with your ability to function and enjoy life. Vestibular Rehab Therapy (VRT) is a sub-specialty of neurologic physical therapy that focuses on evaluating and treating inner ear (vestibular) and neurological issues commonly resulting in problems with imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, or vision.
Usually, finding the right specialist and getting an accurate diagnosis is the most challenging task for people with dizziness and imbalance. Due to the vast variety of symptoms and root causes, imbalance and dizziness are not always clear to your primary care doctor.
Like many people, you may find yourself wading through a series of specialists and ineffective treatments before finally arriving at an answer and a solution from a specialized vestibular therapist. Dr. Valerie Johnson, PT, DPT will help you identify what kind of dizziness you are suffering from and treat you accordingly.
Symptoms may include imbalance, a sensation of motion or spinning, vertigo, disequilibrium, dizziness, falls, and vision problems. These issues may be accompanied by difficulty concentrating, foggy-headedness, anxiety and depression. Thankfully, vestibular and balance problems are largely treatable through specialized neurological, vestibular, and balance rehab.
Dr. Valerie Johnson, PT will start by conducting a thorough interview and obtaining a comprehensive history. Valerie will also perform a physical examination to form an accurate diagnosis.
Based on the findings from your initial evaluation, Valerie will determine if you are a candidate for skilled vestibular rehab. When appropriate, Valerie prescribes specific exercises or treatments and makes any referrals that address your individual needs and goals.
Dizziness and unsteadiness/ imbalance are vague terms of symptoms that may or may not indicate an inner ear problem. These symptoms are often difficult for people to describe and symptom descriptors are often general and mean different things from one individual to the next.
To complicate matters more, many things cause dizziness and imbalance, and people experience these symptoms in a variety of ways. Additionally, you may be suffering from more than one form of dizziness and/ or imbalance. Simply put, dizziness and balance disorders are often multifactorial. These symptoms commonly overlap and have different underlying causes that necessitate different treatments for each.
Vertigo- A sensation of motion, usually spinning of one’s self or the environment, even with eyes closed. May be associated with nausea, vomiting, and/ or imbalance. Vertigo is often caused by an inner ear problem.
Lightheadedness- A faint-like feeling often related to blood flow or heart issues, and may be a side effect of medications. Less commonly, lightheadedness may accompany an inner ear problem.
Dysequilibrium- A sense of unsteadiness or imbalance typically worse during movement or in certain environments. Instability may be described as “drunk-like” and may be associated with aging, nausea, anxiety, or fear of falling. It is often caused by more than one underlying factor. Any of the above symptoms may gradually worsen over time without balance therapy from a vestibular rehab specialist.
Falls- Although the risk for falling and dizziness does increase with age, falling should never be considered a normal outcome of aging. Ask your doctor if you may benefit from balance or dizziness rehab with a vestibular physical therapist to address the underlying factors that are increasing your fall risk.
If you suffer from dizziness or unsteadiness, please contact us to schedule an evaluation.