Dizziness and imbalance affect a large portion of the population, probably more people than you realize. Up to 80 percent of older adults experience some sort of dizziness. Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BBPV) is the most common, affecting half of older adults.
BPPV is characterized by vertigo, which is best described as the sensation of the room spinning. This sensation kicks in with changes in head position. Common tasks that cause symptoms include rolling over in bed, sitting up or lying down in bed, bending forward and looking up. The symptoms are typically brief, usually lasting less than a minute.
Other causes of dizziness are categorized as vestibular dysfunctions; they may be characterized as a more constant sense of vertigo or off-balance sensation. These symptoms can be aggravated by quick head movements, busy visual environments, or motion sensitivity.
Physical therapy is an effective treatment or management principle for dizziness and imbalance. A physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation, including a complete history of symptoms, positional testing for BPPV, and testing for other causes of dizziness and imbalance.
If you think you have a vestibular system disorder, talk to your primary care physician and ask about receiving a physical therapy order.