Balance & Vertigo

To be perfectly balanced, we utilize three different sensory systems. Our vision helps us know where we are, our sensation in our feet and legs, known as the somatosensory system, allows us to adapt to different terrains, and our vestibular system, housed within the inner ears, works to help us know where our head and body are in space.  These systems work together, like an orchestra, and when one system is not functioning properly, it can cause symptoms of dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea and imbalance.  Vestibular Physical Therapy can help promote improved function of these systems for optimal balance. 

 

Vertigo is the sensation of spinning.  It may be a sensation that makes you actually see the room spin, or it may be a sensation inside your head.  Inside the inner ears are three semicircular canals. Microscopic calcium carbonate crystals can sometimes become dislodged from where they belong and float into one of these canals.  Moving into a particular position, like rolling over in bed, or tipping your head back to have your hair washed in a salon may cause the crystals to move, and they can brush upon small hair cells that act as nerves. These nerves send a signal to your brain that you are moving, even though you are not. Your eyes move involuntarily in response to this signal causing the spinning sensation. Vertigo can be extremely debilitating, but physical therapy can help!  Specific testing can identify where the crystals are misplaced, and repositioning techniques can help assist them back to where they belong.