Vertigo & Dizziness

What is the Vestibular System?

The vestibular system is a group of sensory organs that provide feedback to the brain regarding spatial orientation, movement, and head positioning. It helps keep us steady as we move throughout the day.  Along with our vision and touch, the vestibular system is important to assist with our ability to balance. 

What happens with Vestibular Dysfunction?

The vestibular system prevents us from feeling dizzy by maintaining our equilibrium when our head and body is moving through space. Vestibular dysfunction is when our vestibular system stops working as efficiently and effectively as it should. There are a variety of reasons as to why this occurs as well as a myriad of diagnosis that fall under vestibular dysfunction. When our vestibular system is impacted the following symptoms can occur:

  • Vertigo
  • Dizziness
  • Falls
  • Nausea
  • Gaze instability
  • Feeling of faintness

The above symptoms can be serious and if you do experience them it is recommended that you contact your primary care physician. There are a variety of diagnoses that can lead to the above symptoms. 

Can Physical Therapy help with Vestibular Dysfunction?

Yes! Physical therapy can help with several diagnoses that impact the vestibular system. One of the most common is called BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo). This occurs when debris gets stuck within the vestibular organs and impacts your spatial orientation. This debris can occur because of calcium crystals that form in the inner ear labyrinth canals. You may notice dizziness when you change positions like rolling over in bed because the crystals are moving around your canals, where they should not be. Special testing and maneuvers performed by your Physical Therapist can help diagnose and move the crystals to the right location. Other vestibular dysfunctions respond well to balance and gait training and habituation exercises. Habituation exercises focus on gradual and progressive exposure to the provocative stimuli and movements to lessen the effects of dizziness during your daily activities. 

Vestibular rehabilitation at The FIT Institute will be goal oriented to improve your functional limitations, balance, dizziness and unsteadiness. We will work closely with your physician and utilize the most up to date research to resolve your symptoms. Contact our physical therapy office at Chicago, North Center, Lincoln Square, Lincoln Park, Roscoe Village, IL to schedule an appointment for vestibular rehabilitation and vestibular physical therapy.