Physical Therapy for Vertigo

By Team Movement For Life | May 24, 2018

Vertigo is a common ailment that affects a large number of people every year. And although it isn’t a life-threatening condition, it can affect their quality of life substantially. Vertigo attacks leave a person feeling a sense of rocking, rotation, and spinning; and moving the head and body just makes the symptoms worse. Despite how common vertigo is, a large number of sufferers are unaware that physical therapy is one of the best and most effective ways to manage and treat vertigo. A useful technique is using physical therapy for Vertigo. This is want we're going to discuss in this article.


The technique and course of treatment for vertigo depends a lot on the cause of the problem. Vertigo can occur for a number of reasons, including vascular/circulatory impairment, infections in the inner ear, imbalances in the ear, issues with the cervical spine, problems with the central nervous system, and, most commonly, due to loose crystals in the ear that cause BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo).


What exactly is BBPV?

Typically BBPV is the most common cause of Vertigo and like me mentioned before it is typically caused by a mechanical change in the inner ear which causes loose crystals. When crystals become loose or disloged, it can cause disruption of your ear fluid which essentially creates a false sense of movement. This is why when you move your head or change from prone to supine position (laying down or facing down) will cause a sensation of vertigo. In studies conducted by physical therapists, it has been shown that 2-4% of the world's population is a risk for BBPV or in other words loose crystals in their ear.


Does all Vertigo come from BPPV?

No, typically BPPV is a very common cause of Vertigo but not all forms of vertigo come from BPPV or loose crystals. However determining if vertigo is caused by BPPV is a relatively easy process involving the Dix-Hallpike Test which essentially is a non-invase test that takes just a short of amount (usually minutes) to test if your vertigo is coming from the crystals in your ear.


Depending on the cause for your vertigo, you may need a different approach: as always, be sure to consult with a medical professional about what physical therapy might be right for you.


Different PT techniques for vertigo

In physical therapy, there are four commonly used techniques for managing and treating vertigo. The most commonly used technique is the Epley maneuver, which is extremely effective for treating mechanical ear imbalances, such as the loose crystals that cause BPPV. Although a common belief is that this maneuver can easily be performed on yourself, it is advisable to visit a physical therapist to avoid complications. Other physical therapy techniques for vertigo include the Semont maneuver, the Foster maneuver, and the Brandt-Daroff exercise – ask your physical therapist if these might be right for you.

Here's how a physical therapist can help vertigo patients

A professional physical therapist can help you to deal with your vertigo in many ways. Here are a few of the advantages that physical therapy has for vertigo patients:

  • A physical therapist can assess your problem and see how mild or severe your case of vertigo is. This is the most basic step, and it determines the rest of your treatment plan. Simply adopting one of the maneuver techniques yourself can do you more harm than good, and so a visit to the physical therapist can help you get your treatment running the right way, and keep it on course.
  • Once your symptoms have been evaluated, your physical therapist will suggest therapeutic exercises that can reduce the intensity of your symptoms, or in some cases, eliminate them entirely. They will also advise you on the frequency of the exercise, and the general routine to follow, based on your individual requirements.
  • Your physical therapist will also periodically re-evaluate you to check if there is any reduction in your symptoms. Regular evaluation helps to track your progress, and can also help to determine the effectiveness of the exercises that your therapist has given you. Depending on the results, you may be advised to continue, change, or stop your exercise routine.

A physical therapist can also help you with any queries that you may have, and dispel any common myths and misconceptions. Opting for physical therapy can be one of the best courses of action for patients suffering from vertigo, and it’s well worth discussing with your doctor and physical therapist. If you need more personal assistance and would like to see how physical therapy for Vertigo can help you visit us here. See an example of a physical therapist working on a patient below:




What kind of physical therapist do I need?

There are many different kinds of physical therapists that can treat vertigo. Most physical therapists are prepared through their medical education to treat people with vertigo or dizziness. Options you may want to consider are the following:

A physical therapists who has had experience in this area of a physical therapist that has education on vestibular rehabilitation would be a great fit.

A physical therapist that has been board certified or a specalist in neurological physical therapy would be more than adaquelty equipped to help you.


Does exercise help with vertigo?

The short answer is yes but it depends on what caused your vertigo and how depilating it is for you in your current state. The specific types of exercises will depend on your unique situation which your physical therapist will be able to diagnose and prescribe for you. Often times however the exercises your physical therapy will recommend can help improve your balance, help you brain to focus and help to focus your vision and correct the differences between your inner ears which are causing vertigo in the first place.


Does physical therapy help vertigo?

Every case of vertigo is slightly different. The specific physical therapy treatments will highly depend on the diagnosis of your physical therapist. For example, there are different causes of Vertigo which require different forms of treatment. However, physical therapy does indeed help vertigo. A physical therapist can do a test to determine what the cause of your vertigo. If it is determined that the cause of your vertigo is BPPV then typically can be completely resolved in one or two visits with your physical therapist through the the application of the Epley Maneuver, which is a the best form of treatment with very success ratio.

If after the treatment, you are still feeling dizziness or imblance, we have balance training that will help regain your balance. If you are struggling with vertigo and you want experienced professionals to help you heal the issue. Contact us or visit one of our many clinics today.




What is the best treatment for vertigo?

There are short-term solutions such as antihistamines such as AntiVert. These types of over the counter medicines only solve the symptoms. They do not solve the issue permanently, which is why we recommend professional care by a physical therapist.


What causes dizziness?

Most commonly, patients who are over the age of 65 report feeling dizziness and feelings of imbalance. It is reported that more than 9 million people visit the doctor or a physical therapist due to feeling dizziness. More often then not, dizziness by itself is not a very serious debilitating condition but rather a symptom of a larger issue. This is why getting a professional diagnosis by a physical therapist will greatly benefit you. They can tell you exactly what is causing your dizziness and the best form of treatment. When you make an appointment the physical therapist will evaluate your condition by assessing:

  • balance
  • how you walk
  • mobility
  • neck and arm mobility
  • inner ear testing

Physical therapy for vertigo: Does it work?

The answer is yes, more often than not, physical therapy for vertigo or as it is often called, vestibular rehabilitation therapy is the only form of treatment needed to resolve your issue. If a few rare cases, there many been a need for a post-treatment plan. Your physical therapist will be able to tell you if you need a post-treatment plan to continue working on your problems until they completely disappear.


  • If you looking for more benefits to physical therapy click here.
  • If you are looking for different types of physical click here.