Vertigo could be impacting your daily activities, and you may not realize it.

Picture this: you’re at the peak of a mountain, you’re taking in the expansive views, the wind is blowing in your face, and then all of a sudden, you feel a shift. The shift makes you feel wobbly, and your footing seems more difficult.

You ask yourself: what is happening?

The Answer: you’re dizzy. 

There’s no doubt that dizziness experienced at the top of a mountain is unnerving.

Now, imagine if these symptoms translated into your everyday activities. 

The words on a computer screen might feel fleeting, almost hard to hold your focus. You may find difficulty tracking cars in the lanes as you drive by; maybe you have the feeling of losing balance each time you stand-up. Sound familiar?

These can all be symptoms of vertigo.

What is vertigo?

Vertigo is defined as1: “a sensation of motion in which the individual or the individual’s surroundings seem to whirl dizzily.”

Our bodies can balance and equalize through three systems – vision (our eyes), vestibular (our inner ear), and proprioception (small receptors throughout our body that allow the brain to interpret where the body is in space). These systems allow us to walk across uneven surfaces and navigate through dimly lit areas. 

Disease or pathology of the inner ear (vestibular system) directly affects an individual’s ability to stand the body upright which causes dizziness, spinning, tilting, swaying, or even tinnitus (ringing of the ears). Other symptoms may include inability to focus, headaches, sickness of the stomach/vomiting, loss of balance or even falls.

If you have experienced these symptoms on an intermittent or continuous basis, you may be suffering from a form of vertigo.

Is there more than one kind of vertigo?

You may have heard of one of these:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): symptoms typically onset after transitional movements because of canalith position in the inner ear and,
  • Meniere’s Disease: this may present as2,
    • Two episodes of vertigo, lasting 20 mins or longer, but less than 12 hours
    • Hearing loss – determined by an audiologist with a hearing test
    • Tinnitus or feeling of fullness in the ear
    • Exclusion of other known causes of these problems
  • Vestibular Neuronitis: which is the inflammation of the vestibular nerve. Also, there is,
  • Labyrinthitis: the labyrinths are part of the anatomy of the inner ear (located in the temporal bone) and allow one to hear and provide equilibrium. There are three parts to the labyrinths including the vestibule, semicircular canals, and cochlea. This is the infection of or inflammation of the inner ear.

What do I do now?

The symptoms of the vestibular system can be exhausting and impactful on your life. Don’t lose hope!

Working with a physical therapist that specializes in vestibular therapy as part of a medical team, as we have at Denver Integrated Spine Center, will help determine the origins of the symptoms you may be experiencing. 

With the evaluation, a physical therapist will be able to create a treatment plan in hopes of addressing your vertigo symptoms. 

Under the care of a vestibular trained physical therapist and conservative treatment, you will likely be able to improve or resolve symptoms with the use of positioning, exercise, or medication (as prescribed by an ENT, neurologist, or PCP). 

If you know someone suffering, or you yourself are experiencing some of the symptoms named here, please consider visiting a trained specialist. At Denver Integrated Spine Center, we have gone out of our way to ensure that vertigo patients receive prompt and thorough care. As with most injuries, the sooner you seek care, the quicker you will be on your road to recovery. 

We would love to hear from you, let us know what you’re experiencing and how we might be able to support you!

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Footnotes:

  1. Merriam-webster.com. 2020. Definition Of VERTIGO. [online] Available at: <https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/vertigo> 
  2. Mayo Clinic. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/menieres-disease/diagnosis-treatment/drc-20374916>