FITNESS AND WELLNESS
When the Room Starts to Spin
There are many adjectives that people use to describe how they’re feeling when they say they’re dizzy. I can hardly keep count of them…dizzy, woozy, light headed, nauseous, seeing blurred lines, feeling unbalanced, vertigo, room spinning, and the list goes on and on.
Anyone who has experienced dizziness/vertigo knows it can be an incredibly uncomfortable and scary experience. Sometimes, these symptoms come on quickly when you’ve rolled over in bed in the middle of the night and suddenly the room is spinning rapidly around you, and you become acutely nauseous. Other times, these symptoms come on slowly and are accompanied by other symptoms like ringing in the ears or having difficulty reading. Maybe you had a cold a few days or weeks ago, and then when you woke up today, you are off balance, running into things, and yes, feeling dizzy.
At first glance, these symptoms and scenarios I have described sound like they could indicate a very serious medical disorder. However, would you believe that these are all very common symptoms of inner ear disorders? Did you know that Physical Therapy can help treat these symptoms and get you feeling like yourself quicker without the use of medications? It’s true! The inner ear complex (also known as the home for our vestibular system) is a complex system that allows our head, body, and eyes to move in space while maintaining the body’s balance and equilibrium.
Sometimes, like any other system of the body, the vestibular system can become “sick” from a variety of causes and often cause the sensation of vertigo. However, many of these disorders cannot be treated by medication. Many medications that “treat” vestibular disorders don’t truly treat the disorder; rather, they put a band-aid over the symptoms so that the dizziness/vertigo sensation is not as strong. However, the source of the dizziness/vertigo is still there. Physical Therapy can help treat the source and can get you feeling back to normal and doing the things you love quickly and effectively. If you have experienced symptoms of dizziness or vertigo, I encourage you to seek out a knowledgeable Physical Therapist for treatment. In the state of North Carolina, PT’s have direct access, which means you can make an appointment without a doctor’s prescription or referral. However, if you do see your physician first, inquire about a PT referral to treat your dizziness/vertigo.
Disclaimer: sometimes the symptoms of dizziness/vertigo can be signs of a more serious medical disorder. Physical therapists are highly trained and educated in differential diagnosis and will not hesitate to refer you back to your doctor, if there is concern about a more serious medical condition.
A native of Sheffield, England, Matthew Turner moved to North Carolina in 2016, with his wife Rachael, and has worked in an outpatient orthopedic setting, specializing in manual therapy. Matt is the Facility Director and lead physical therapist for the PHOENIX Rehabilitation and Health Services, Charlotte location. Matt's clinical expertise focuses on outpatient orthopedics, post-operative conditions, concussion, and sports/work-related injuries. Matt underwent post-graduate training with NAIOMT and is a Certified Manual Physical Therapist. He is also certified in Dry Needling and Blood Flow Restriction Training.