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How can Physical Therapy help with Vertigo?

vertigoDizziness is an experience that 20-30% of all adults will experience throughout their lifetime but not all “dizziness” is easy to explain.  Vertigo is defined as “sensation of whirling or movement that results in error message in the central process of position, space, and time” or in other words spinning.

90% of all disability caused by “dizziness” is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).  BPPV is caused by the dislodging of sensory crystals within inner ear that can “get lost” in the semi-circular canals causing miscommunication to the brain on your position in space.  Signs and symptoms of BPPV are usually triggered by specific changes in head positioning and include:

  • Sudden sensation of spinning
  • Dizziness
  • Loss of balance
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting


When researching you may find “self-treatments” for vertigo but it is recommended to avoid such treatments as it is possible to make symptoms worse.  A certified physical therapist (PT) can perform canalith repositioning techniques (CRT) to resolve symptoms in as little as 1 visit.  These include a series of strategic movements that the PT will direct in order to guide the crystals out of the semi-circular canals and eliminating symptoms.  Your therapist will also provide you with post-care with modifications to make daily for up to one week, reducing chances of symptoms returning.  If your symptoms are not caused by BPPV the therapist will further assess the cause.  In most cases a referral to a physical therapist is not required (dependent on insurance) but a cash rate is always offered to provide same day treatment.

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