Dizziness and vertigo are terms often used interchangeably to describe a wide range of symptoms. Yet these two terms are distinct with separate causes. Understanding the differences between dizziness and vertigo can improve the diagnosis and treatment of vestibular and balance conditions.
Dizziness is a feeling of being off-balance and can feel like you are going to fall. Vertigo is the feeling that your surroundings or you are moving. If you experience vertigo or dizziness, schedule an appointment with your doctor (call 911 in emergencies). They’ll ask questions about your symptoms, examine you, and possibly run tests to potentially pinpoint underlying causes.
Vertigo and dizziness can make daily activities difficult. Let’s further break down these terms and describe how physical therapy can be used in their treatment.
Vertigo Causes and Symptoms
Vertigo feels like you or your surroundings are spinning. Nausea, vomiting, and sweating are often companion symptoms.
Possible causes of vertigo include the following:
- Cerebellar Stroke
- Vestibular Neuritis
- Vestibular Migraine
- Multiple Sclerosis
- Head Injuries
- Meniere’s Disease
Dizziness Causes and Symptoms
When you are dizzy, you feel unsteady. Your spatial orientation feels off.
Possible causes of dizziness include the following:
- Head Injuries
- Alcohol Consumption
- Iron Deficiency (Anemia)
- Carbon Monoxide Poisoning
- Low Blood Sugar
- Drop in Blood Pressure
If you experience recurrent or prolonged dizziness or vertigo, you should make an appointment with your primary care physician. Understanding the underlying cause is a crucial step in providing effective treatment.
There are circumstances where you should seek immediate medical attention. If your dizziness or vertigo is followed by any of the following symptoms, call 911:
- Slurred Speech
- Unequal Pupil Size
- Sudden Vomiting
- Severe Headache or Neck Pain
These symptoms may be a sign of stroke and should be addressed immediately.
Treatment for Vestibular Balance Disorders
Our doctors at ProFysio Physical Therapy can help people manage vertigo and dizziness symptoms. We first conduct a variety of assessments such as eye-hand coordination and balance tests.
A tailored plan for you might include the following:
- Neck, Head, Eye Exercises
- Balance Retraining
- Stretching & Strengthening Exercises
- Posture Training
Our goal is to retrain the nervous system to help you feel better and to alleviate your symptoms. Vestibular rehabilitation improves blurry vision or dizziness during head movements, tightness or stiffness in the neck, frequent headaches, walking imbalances, and more.
In addition to the exercises and techniques used in the clinic, we also often have patients supplement with at-home exercises to reinforce what the brain learns.
Vestibular rehabilitation can be a stand-alone therapy or part of an overall medical treatment plan. Multiple sessions are required but vary depending on the condition and the severity of the symptoms.
Get Back to Enjoying Life
When you have recurrent or severe vertigo or dizziness, your entire life is affected. You might struggle to go for a walk with a friend, focus on work, or even get out of bed. Our comprehensive services can give you the confidence to perform the tasks of daily living. We want you to enjoy your favorite activities and re-engage with life. Throughout the process, we treat our patients with care and respect.
Contact us today for a free initial evaluation. We will assess your medical history and listen to your chief complaints and goals. We can customize a physical therapy plan for you. Call (732) 812-5200 to schedule.