Most patients that suffer from vestibular dysfunction are asymptomatic. Inner ear disorders are the leading cause of falls. Effective treatments exist for balance and dizziness issues…when correctly diagnosed.
The role of the primary care physician in treating patients with dizziness or vertigo has increased over the last decade.
Dizziness and vertigo are among the most common symptoms causing patients to visit a physician (as common as back pain and headaches). The incidence of falling is greater then 35% in patients older than 65 years. Falling can be a direct consequence of dizziness in this population.
There are many causes of dizziness and only your physician can determine the cause and recommend proper treatment options. Listed below is a brief outline of some of the conditions that may cause balance problems. Please click on (the pdf) for a amore specific printable explanation of each of these issues listed below:
BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)
BPPV is the most common cause of vertigo. It is due to disturbances within the inner ear.
In Vestibular neuritis, dizziness is attributed to a viral infection of the vestibular nerve. In older patients, this can be secondary to ischemic damage to the inner ear or vestibular nerve.
This is a very common cause of dizziness, especially in the elderly. Orthostatic hypotension is a decrease in blood pressure that occurs when an individual stands up after sitting or laying down. The drop in blood pressure is caused by pooling of blood in the legs. If blood pools in the legs, less blood is pumped by the heart to the brain and dizziness or lightheadedness occurs. Orthostatic hypotension is generally treated with hydration, elastic stockings, and sometimes with medications. The diagnosis is made by measuring the blood pressure and heart rate in the recumbent and standing positions while the patient’s symptoms are documented.
Although most think of migraine as a terrible headache and nothing more, migraine is actually a complex disorder of the brain that affects 12% of all people. About 20% of people with migraine have migraine with aura. An “aura” is a symptom that can be localized to a specific brain region.
A perilymph fistula is a tear or defect in the oval window or round window (the thin membranes between the middle and inner ears). When a fistula is present, changes in middle ear pressure will directly affect the inner ear, stimulating the balance and/or hearing structures and causing several symptoms. These include dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, nausea, and vomiting. Some people experience ringing or fullness in the ears, and many notice a hearing loss.
Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) and Stroke
TIAs and stroke are caused by low blood flow to the brain. When the areas of the brain that control balance (brain stem and cerebellum) suffer from low or absent blood flow, dizziness and imbalance can occur. Sometimes dizziness can occur if the vertebral arteries in the neck become narrow (vertebral stenosis). When a patient with vertebral stenosis turns his or her head in certain directions, the arteries can be pinched off and blood flow to the brain can be diminished. Dizziness or vertigo is much more often caused by inner ear problems, however,TIA and stroke are frequent causes of imbalance.
This is a very common cause of dizziness, especially in the elderly. Orthostatic hypotension is a decrease in blood pressure that occurs when an individual stands up after sitting or laying down.
An arrhythmia is an electrical conduction abnormality of the heart. An arrhythmia can lead to an irregular heartbeat that causes less blood to be pumped to the brain and this can lead to dizziness.
The most common fall is a simple fall in which the patient trips and has no ominous underlying peripheral or central disorder.
At Kaizen Total Wellness we are pleased to offer balance therapy/rehabilitation in addition to balance testing/screening in our office with state of the art computerized vestibular testing.
Our physical therapist, Dr. Jill Rose is certified in vestibular disorders and supervises the entire program which consists of physical therapy and exercise fitness training utilizing the Power Plate and bioDensity machines.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a specific form of physical therapy designed to habituate symptoms, and promote adaptation to and substitution for various aspects of deficits related to a wide variety of balance disorders. VRT is effective in improving the functional deficits and subjective symptoms resulting from unilateral and bilateral peripheral vestibular hypo function as well as from central balance disorders.
By improving vestibular function and promoting mechanisms of central adaptation and compensation, VRT aims to do the following:
– Improve balance
– Minimize falls
– Decrease subjective sensations of dizziness
– Improve stability during locomotion
– Reduce over dependency on visual and somatosensory inputs
– Improve neuromuscular coordination
– Decrease anxiety and somatization due to vestibular disorientation
Our VATplus Computerized Balance Testing System is quick and easy to perform and does not cause any side effects. This service is covered by most insurance plans including Medicare.
Our unique balance program is also covered by most insurance plans.
For more information, please call 941-556-7788