Did you ever wake up and feel or see the room spinning? Did you ever walk into a supermarket and feel dizzy? Did you ever feel like you were walking around drunk?
These are common symptoms described by individuals who have experienced vertigo and/or dizziness. Roughly 15-20% of the population experiences some sort to vertigo and/or dizzy symptoms yearly, with more than half of them women. Most studies identify the older population experiencing symptoms more frequently; and, while there are not any actual studies that provide a percentage in regards to age discrepancies, in my practice approximately 30% of my dizzy patients are young adults to middle age. Therefore, these symptoms can occur across the age span.
When most of my patients initially get to me, they tell me they were told to try maneuvers to treat the dizziness. The great old world wide web, friends, colleagues, and family members become their source of information on how to treat their dizziness. And, often times, once they finally get to me, they have had to suffer from their symptoms for several weeks, even after trying the “dizzy exercises”. Unfortunately, no one has told them that Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is ONLY ONE cause of vertigo and dizziness. While it is the most prevalent, very rarely does BPPV occur independently of other vestibular issues.
While I am a huge advocate of patients taking their health into their own hands, with dizziness, I take caution. I can recall a number of times a patient walks into my office, tells me about their dizziness and how many times they tried doing the Epley maneuver at home. Come to find out through their evaluation, they don’t have BPPV. Their dizziness is caused by a completely different pathology.
All that being said, physical therapists play an essential role in treating individuals with dizziness. Whether it be treating someone with BPPV, vestibular migraines, vestibular hypofunction, concussions, or cervicogenic dizziness, physical therapist can assist people in regaining control of their lives and returning to their every day activities dizzy-free. I cannot stress the importance of finding a physical therapist who is trained in vestibular rehabilitation. While all PTs get a baseline education in treating dizziness, there are many who receive more education and harness a better ability at diagnosing and treating those individuals with vestibular issues other than just BPPV. Websites such as vestibular.org have databases that list physical therapists in areas that
Just know that if you get dizzy, it is not too uncommon, regardless of age. And there is a treatment for it.