Recent studies have shown that self-reported prevalence of dizziness and vertigo
exceeds 36% in Australians over the age of 50 and is defined as disturbed postural awareness. This is different to vertigo, which is a perceived sense of motion.
The diagnosis of dizziness is key in its appropriate management.
Some questions you’ll be asked about include:
– Duration & frequency
– Associated symptoms
Four most common causes of dizziness presented to physiotherapy clinics are:
- BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
- Episodic vertigo related to changes in head position in relation to gravity.
- Associated symptoms = nausea & vomiting + no associated hearing loss or tinnitus.
- May report periods of imbalance between episodes of vertigo.
- Triggers : everyday activities, such as rolling over in bed, tilting the head backwards, or bending forward.
- 86% of affected individuals require medical consultation, interruption of daily activities, or sick leave
- Imbalance & dizziness associated with a cervical spine (neck) abnormality + aggravated or eased by movements or positions of the cervical spine.
- Connection between muscles, head position and postural stability.
- Post concussion dizziness
- After concussion, most commonly reported symptoms = H/A & dizziness, followed closely by nausea and neck pain.
- The majority of symptoms resolve in 7–10 days, but in approximately 30% of athletes they persist.
- Proper orientation in space requires accurate and consistent input from the proprioceptive, visual and vestibular systems.
- If one or more of these systems provide inaccurate information about spatial location, alteration in balance and dizziness may result due to mismatching of sensory information.
- Vestibular neuritis
- 2nd most common peripheral cause of vertigo.
- Most often caused by a viral infection of the vestibular nerve.
- Upper respiratory illness prior to onset of symptoms. – Vertigo is sudden and may last for several days – Postural imbalance and nausea. BPPV may develop in affected ear.
Physiotherapists will combine your reported symptoms with specific testing to eliminate any causes that require further medical assessment.
If referral is not required, treatment may consist of vestibular rehabilitation, balance exercises exercise therapy joint mobilisation, massage and advice + education on how to self treat your dizziness/vertigo and avoid any triggers.