Is Vertigo Robbing You Of More Than Your Balance? What Are Your Treatment Options?

5 August 2016
 Categories: , Blog

If you've suffered from mild bouts of vertigo for years, you may be dismayed when you notice your symptoms worsening -- in some cases, leaving you too dizzy and disoriented to feel safe driving or even crossing the street by yourself. This type of "invisible" illness can lead to feelings of isolation and frustration with your own body. Do you have any treatment options that can get you back to equilibrium? Read on to learn more about how vestibular rehabilitation could help you minimize your vertigo symptoms for good.

What causes vertigo?

Although some people who suffer from vertigo can never quite pinpoint a medical reason behind their dizzy spells, nausea, or sensations of spinning or falling, in many cases this condition can be caused by a structural abnormality or other problem in the middle or inner ear. The small and fragile parts of your ear anatomy like the hammer, stirrup, and anvil are responsible not only for sending signals to your brain to help you translate what you're hearing, but also for sending signals to your brain through your vestibular nerve to maintain your sense of balance. This is why you may notice you experience dizzy spells or lightheadedness while suffering from a sinus infection, as blowing your nose (or allowing it to drain down your sinuses) can change the internal pressure in your ears and affect your balance.

For some whose ear anatomy appears to be perfectly normal, the vertigo may instead be caused by misfiring signals in the brain or an inability to accurately translate the sensations of movement being conveyed by your vestibular nerve. This can sometimes be caused by a virus or head injury.  

Can vestibular rehabilitation or vestibular physical therapy help your vertigo symptoms? 

If your vertigo has been caused by a physical issue that can't easily be repaired (like damage to the inner ear) or if you're not quite sure what led your vertigo to worsen, you may benefit from vestibular rehabilitation. This is a type of physical therapy specifically designed to improve the function of your vestibular nerve while giving you the tools you need to maintain your balance and diminish any unpleasant physical symptoms you may be experiencing. 

During a vestibular rehab session, you and your physical therapist will work together on some specific situations that give you trouble. For example, if your vertigo tends to worsen when you're in crowded public spaces, you may undergo a type of immersion therapy where you're repeatedly placed in loud or crowded environments and then required to move or perform exercises. Over time and with sufficient exposure to triggers like these, you'll find that your body is better able to handle the increased stimuli without leaving you dizzy or short of breath. 

For more information, contact a company like Alpine Ear, Nose & Throat, PC.