Have you ever been suuuper dizzy?
“Of course I have Jake, but why?”
Dizziness can take all forms. Maybe you occasionally feel like the room is spinning around you? Does it feel like YOU are spinning in the room? Do you ever feel like you are rocking on a boat while you lay in bed? Perhaps you feel light-headed like you’re going to pass out?
There are literally dozens of reasons for dizziness. You know what’s awesome though? Physical therapy can resolve (or at least help) A LOT of them. Let’s talk about some of the most common reasons for dizziness, what is happening, and how PT can help.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
Ever heard of the vestibular system?
Ever heard of crystals in your ears?
These crystals need to be in very specific areas in the inner ear. Sometimes they end up in areas they shouldn’t be – lucky you, right? Unfortunately, this tells your body you are in motion when you aren’t. It’s not fun. What’s super great about this though is it’s VERY easily treated in physical therapy, There are a few quick maneuvers that relocate the crystals and then you are relatively symptom-free.
What it feels like:
- Generally feels like the room is spinning around you.
- Dizzy spells that last less than 1 minute at a time.
- Dizziness with movement – often with rotating your head, sitting up from bed, or looking up at the ceiling.
Basically this means when you change position, your blood pressure drops more than desired because gravity pulls it down to your feet. In a nutshell, you feel light headed when you sit up too fast or stand up too fast. You may feel like you are going to black out or lose consciousness and need to sit back down. This is strongly related to blood pressure and the body’s ability to regulate it.
- Collaboration with your primary care physician and/or cardiologist for medication management – may or may not need to switch medications, combine medications, or have cardiology work-up.
- Graded exercise with physical therapy monitoring to improve the body’s ability to regulate blood pressure.
- In the short term, when you sit up or stand up, pump your ankles up and down, kick your knees out, and march your hips. The muscles in the body act like a pump and therefore can help to pump blood back up to the heart and the brain so you don’t feel as light-headed.
This one is extremely variable but very common. In essence, muscles and joints in the neck communicate with the inner ear and eyes to regulate balance. If the neck is tight, has knots (trigger points), or maybe you choose to use certain muscles for movement instead of others, it can result in dizziness during all sorts of tasks. Generally, head movement will provoke dizziness, but it can also occur with no motion at all. Sometimes you feel light-headed but other times you feel like the room is spinning – super variable, right? This is one that can go undiagnosed for a long time and maybe you’ve decided to “just live with it…”
DON’T DO IT!
Fix it with physical therapy.
- Targeted muscle and joint stretching.
- Movement correction – usually has to do with shoulders and neck.
- Breathing corrections.
Wait, what?? Yes. Check out Eric Christensen’s book, Breathe Better, to learn more about how breathing patterns can affect the neck resulting in chronic tension and dizziness. He also discusses several techniques to self-correct with simple breathing activities. Get it HERE.
While these can be some of the most common causes of dizziness, there are plenty others. See a physical therapist for an in-depth evaluation to identify the cause and the treatment that will be best for you. Don’t just “live with it.”
Call or email with questions – often times we can get a pretty good idea what’s happening just over the phone. Give us a call at 480-786-4969 or- fill out the form below to chat with us in person.
Jake Kelso PT, DPT, AIB-VR/CON
Chandler Physical Therapy is a family owned and operated Physical Therapy clinic in Chandler, Arizona. We treat active adults who are looking to keep themselves pain free and active through exercise and healthy living.
If you have any questions, please feel free to comment below and ask or, we have a Free Discovery Visit (Half Hour) that allows you to sit down, one on one with a therapist to discuss what you have going on to find out if physical therapy is a good fit for you. Check it out below: