What is Dizziness?

Dizziness is a feeling of displacement and imbalance. May be felt as being light-headed, feeling faint, ‘spacey’, off balance or a true vertigo – feeling like the room is spinning. Often associated with other unpleasant symptoms, such as nausea, vomiting, headaches and neck pain. Dizziness is a common cause of falls and hospitalisations. 

Cross section illustration of the ear anatomy

What are common types of Dizziness?

BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo) – an inner ear condition, where tiny crystals that our body uses to detect gravity fall into the wrong part of the ear and cause an abnormal response. Causes vertigo on head movements that last for a few minutes at the most, but can still be debilitating and cause falls.

UVH (Unilateral Vestibular Hypofunction) – where one of the inner ear systems isn’t working as well, perhaps due to an inner ear infection. This leads to different information coming to the brain from each inner ear, which your brain interprets as dizziness on certain head movements.

CVD (Central Vestibular Dysfunction) – where the brain itself misinterprets the information the body is sending it, causing dizziness. Can be caused by anything that affects the brain, like a stroke, migraines or concussion. Causes dizziness on head movement but also general motion sensitivity – so seeing objects move at a face pace, eg. on TV or when driving, can make them feel off balance and unwell.

Low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension) – where the body doesn’t constrict the blood vessels in response to gravity when you stand up, meaning less blood makes its way to the brain. This causes dizziness and even fainting spells if severe.

Medication related – could be related to medication side effects, especially if a person is taking multiple medications. Antidepressants and antipsychotics are especially known to cause dizziness.

How does a Physiotherapist help with Dizziness?

Accurate Assessment and Diagnosis

An experienced Physiotherapist will be able to use several tests to help differentiate between what is causing the dizziness, as well as determine whether referral to a specialist is needed. There may even be a couple of conditions present at once.

Video Goggles are the best way to assess the inner ear system, as certain eye movements can show what type of inner ear problem is present. These Goggles prevent any light from getting to the eyes so an accurate assessment can be performed, the Physiotherapist will guide the client through the whole process.

What treatment can be provided in the home?

The most common types of inner ear problems can be easily treated at home. BPPV can often be treated in one session, while other vestibular issues can be treated with exercises. These exercises will be gradually progressed by the Physiotherapist until the dizziness has subsided. A person with dizziness may also need to be treated with exercises to address poor balance or neck pain.

When would we refer to a specialist?

A referral to a neurologist can be made to exclude more sinister causes of vertigo, or when the vertigo presents as severe or complicated. Neurologists are also helpful at treating migraines, which can sometimes occur alongside the vertigo. A letter will be written by the treating Physiotherapist explaining the situation, so the neurologist can begin investigating further with specialised testing equipment.

A referral to a cardiologist may be needed for low blood pressure, if GP management of their medication doesn’t help and simple remedies such as increasing fluid intake doesn’t make an effect.

Who We Work With

Community Therapy is NDIS registered for Physiotherapy and Allied Health services and people may have access to funding through NDIS to access our services.

People may also have funding through a home care package, Commonwealth Home Support Program (CHSP) or Short-Term Restorative Care (STRC) program to engage our services.

We also accept clients privately paying and those with suitable private health insurance may be able to claim back rebates for our services.

Please use our contact or referrals page if you would like to leave an enquiry.

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