If you have been experiencing bouts of dizziness, you aren’t alone. Recent studies suggest that dizziness affects approximately 50% of all adults at some point in their lives. There are many reasons a person might feel dizzy, such as dehydration, anemia, and fatigue, but vestibular problems–that is, problems in the inner ear–account for 40% of all cases of dizziness.
What Causes Dizziness and Vertigo?
Dizziness and vertigo may include symptoms like nausea, motion sensitivity, and hearing problems. If you come to our team because you are experiencing these symptoms, we will identify what the underlying cause is so we can administer the proper treatments. Typically, dizziness and vertigo are a result of one of the issues below.
Inner Ear Problems
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). if moving from lying to sitting, turning in bed, looking up or down brings on spells of vertigo (typically lasting seconds to about one minute), BPPV might be the problem. This condition is a result of dislodged crystals in the ear canal, which are affected by gravity and make it feel as if you are spinning when you move your head. Sometimes a head injury is to blame for BPPV, but often there is no specific cause. This condition is treatable with vestibular rehabilitation.
- Ear Infection. An infection, viral or bacterial, in the ear canal can cause sudden and significant vertigo symptoms. If dizziness is attributed to an infection in the inner ear, you will be referred to a specialist who will assess the infection further and prescribe medication.
- Meniere’s disease. With Meniere’s disease, you may suffer recurring bouts of vertigo and dizziness that can last up to several hours. You may also experience pressure in your ears or loss of hearing. Meniere’s disease is a chronic condition that involves excessive fluid buildup in the ear, but symptoms can be managed.
Other causes of dizziness can include neurological disorders such as Parkinson’s disease, medication side effects, anxiety disorders, high or low blood pressure, and low blood sugar.
Dizziness may also be a sign of more serious health problems, such as stroke or heart attack. If you have sudden onset dizziness in combination with a severe headache, vision troubles, fever, loss of motor function, or weakness or numbness, seek medical assistance immediately.
Treatments for Dizziness
if your vertigo symptoms are determined to be an infection or an issue external to the ear canal, such as blood pressure problems, our team will refer you back to your physician for follow-up. we will also assess for more serious conditions that can cause dizziness/vertigo.
If the problem lies within the inner ear, our team will determine the appropriate treatment based on the type of vestibular problem, the severity and duration of your symptoms, and your sensitivity to treatments.
Head position (Epley) Maneuvers
By performing an Epley maneuver, the displaced crystals that cause BPPV are repositioned so they no longer cause problems. Our team manually adjusts your head position while you are sitting and lying down, using a machine to monitor your eye movements as your position changes. This procedure typically takes around 15 minutes, and after just a couple of treatments typically sees around 80% effectiveness in curing BPPV.
If your vertigo and dizziness cause issues with your vision, gaze stability exercises may be recommended. This technique involves the patient shifting their gaze to different targets while being monitored and guided by a physiotherapist. They may also be instructed to focus on one target while the physiotherapist maneuvers their heads back and forth. These exercises help to control focus and improve vision when a patient with inner ear problems moves their head.
In order to ensure your vertigo symptoms remain at bay, our team may recommend exercises that will moderately stimulate the dizziness. Through gradual and repeated exposure, you will train the brain to ignore the irregular signals your inner ear is transmitting.
If you are experiencing dizziness, remember to keep your fluids up, avoid caffeine and alcohol, and sit or lie down when you start to feel dizzy to avoid falls or accidents. Then book yourself in for an appointment with our team to get the treatments you need to get your feet back on solid ground.