Vertigo is more common than you think. What you may not know is that physical therapy can help you with it! We’ll talk about dizziness in a separate post, because it’s not necessarily the same thing.

We define vertigo as a sense of self-movement or the environment is moving or spinning, whereas dizziness has more to do with an altered sense of space – your balance feels off.

Our bodies have three systems to keep us balanced:

  • our eyes

  • our inner ear (equilibrium)

  • our proprioception (our brain knowing where our joints are in space)

In the case of vertigo, it’s typically the inner ear that isn’t functioning as well as it could.

One of the more common causes of vertigo is called benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV) – meaning it’s not harmful; it’s based on the position of your head, and it’s a sudden onset of symptoms. The good news is that this type of vertigo can be easily managed!

How do you know if you have it? There are a few hallmark signs. First, you’ll notice that you get vertigo only when you turn your head to one side (i.e. laying on the right side gives you vertigo, but not the left). Second, symptoms last for a few seconds but then resolve. Third, it might have started after you hit your head on something, but didn’t think anything of it at first. Finally, maybe you started sleeping on a recliner with your head propped since lying on the side gives you vertigo.

What happens with BPPV is that the otoconia (which are tiny crystals in the inner ear that transmit information on what your head position is) can become dislodged and float where they’re not supposed to be. Physical therapy treatment involves positioning the head in just the right way to allow the otoconia to move back into their normal position within the inner ear.

Sounds silly, I know, but it’s effective and quick. See our video for more details on what this looks like!

Think you might have BPPV? Contact Peak Form today for help!

By Laura Vroman