Treating Vertigo with Physical Therapy

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Treating Vertigo with Physical Therapy

Vertigo is a common issue many Americans deal with every year. And even though it isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can substantially affect your quality of life. Vertigo is actually a symptom rather than a condition itself. It is the feeling or sensation that you or your environment around you is spinning or moving, even if sitting perfectly still. It can lead to balance problems and is often caused by problems with the inner ear. People who suffer from vertigo will often complain of feeling dizzy or lightheaded. Learn how physical therapy can help to treat vertigo here.


 There are many conditions and syndromes that can cause vertigo. Although, it is most commonly caused by an issue with how balance works in the inner ear. However, it can also be caused by problems relating to the brain. One of these conditions is Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo(BPPV), the most common cause of vertigo. Certain head movements and positions usually trigger BPPV. Other conditions that cause vertigo are Meniere’s disease, Labyrinthitis, and Cholesteatoma, all relating to issues with the inner ear. Other common vertigo causes are diabetes, head injuries, brain disease, and stroke.



As we discussed above, vertigo is a symptom of many different conditions. That said, vertigo can also occur with other symptoms, including vomiting, balance issues, headaches, and motion sickness. 


Vertigo can be diagnosed with questions and tests performed by your healthcare provider. One test that may be administered is Fukuda-Unterberger’s test. You’ll be asked to march in place with your eyes closed for thirty seconds. If you lean to one side or lose your balance, that could mean you have an issue with your inner ear, resulting in vertigo. Multiple tests, including Romberg’s, head impulse, and vestibular test battery, are used to make a diagnosis.


The treatment method that is right for you will depend on what is causing your vertigo. Using medication to treat the underlying cause can be a great way to help ease symptoms. For example, if an infection causes vertigo, your doctor can prescribe antibiotics. Other treatment methods are vestibular rehabilitation and canalith repositioning procedure, which both involve solving issues with the inner ear. In some cases, when vertigo is caused by a more severe problem, like a brain tumor, for example, surgery can be necessary.

Treatment with Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is an excellent tool to help people manage and eliminate vertigo symptoms. Your physical therapist will design a plan tailored to you based on their evaluation. The exact treatment methods used will depend on what causes your vertigo. The main goal of physical therapy is to help you get up and moving again and manage your vertigo simultaneously.  Treatment may involve specific neck and head movements that your therapist can teach you to do. They can also teach you specific exercises to help get rid of your symptoms. Exercises can be taught to improve balance, vision, and tolerance to environments that may cause dizziness.



Featured Clinician: Anthony Maritato, PT 

FEATURED CLINICIAN: Anthony Maritato, PT Anthony Maritato, PT, MSPT, is a licensed physical therapist and co-founder of Total Therapy Solutions, a private practice outpatient physical therapy business that focuses on

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