Woman sitting on bed due to vertigo


Vertigo to “Verti-gone”

Posted By Gina Clark, PT


“Any time I turn over in bed, the room starts spinning for a few seconds.”

“When I tilt my head back to wash my hair, I feel dizzy.”

These are common complaints I hear from patients who come to our Outpatient clinic with a referral for vestibular therapy. 

Did you know physical therapists can provide treatment for individuals who have vertigo or other symptoms of dizziness? In fact, some physical therapists — including those at Shirley Ryan AbilityLab — have pursued additional specialized training in vestibular rehabilitation to help patients with problems with balance and dizziness, particularly those originiating in the brain or inner ear.  

What Exactly Is Vertigo? 

Vertigo is the sensation of spinning when you are still. It is a type of dizziness that can affect your sense of balance. It could be difficult to even describe this feeling to others, but you know something with your equilibrium is off. Vertigo can cause other symptoms like nausea, difficulty focusing your eyes, feeling like your eyes are “fluttering,” and sometimes includes loss of balance. 

The inner ear houses the vestibular system, which provides the brain with information about the body’s motion, head position and spatial orientation. The vestibular system helps maintain balance and correct posture during everyday activities like turning or walking, and during complex movements like playing sports or doing yoga.

There are many reasons someone may be experiencing dizziness, vertigo or imbalance, so it is important to check in with your doctor if you have any of these symptoms. Vestibular therapists also may evaluate and treat many causes of dizziness and imbalance. 

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo 

One common cause of dizziness — characterized by several seconds of vertigo when the head is moved into certain positions, like turning over in bed or tilting the head back — is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, also known as BPPV.  

BPPV occurs when crystals from the inner ear break loose and fall into the inner ear canals. BPPV can be diagnosed through questions and a physical therapy examination. To treat it, a physical therapist will guide a patient through a gentle repositioning maneuver to move the crystals back into place. Research shows that this repositioning maneuver works on the first effort a majority of the time.

Make an Appointment to Treat Your Vestibular Issues

At Shirley Ryan AbilityLab, we have number of physical therapists who are specialized in treating individuals with vestibular problems.

Shirley Ryan AbilityLab is now offering physician and therapy TeleHealth appointments to provide patients easy access to our expert clinical teams. New and existing outpatients can schedule an appointment at 312.238.1000 or here.

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