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  • Writer's pictureClaire Doolan

Dizziness - Is your Head Spinning?

Updated: Feb 5

Elderly woman experiencing lightheadedness, taking a moment to rest.

Dizziness: Reclaim Your Balance and Take Control

Feeling like the world is spinning around you? You're not alone. Dizziness, that unsettling sense of lightheadedness or unsteadiness, is a common complaint that can significantly impact your quality of life. But before you resign yourself to a life of wobbly walks and near misses, know this: dizziness is often treatable!

"Dizziness" is defined as an altered sense of balance and place, possibly described as lightheaded, feeling faint or as if head is spinning. Vertigo is a type of dizziness that feels as though you or your surroundings are spinning.

We know it can feel horrible to be dizzy or as if your head is spinning off its axes. Did you know that often these symptoms can be changed with specific assessment and intervention?

What Helps us Balance?

Imagine your balance as a finely tuned orchestra, with three key players:

  • The Inner Ear: The vestibular system within your inner ear acts as your internal gyroscope and level. Tiny hair cells in its canals and sacs detect head movements and send signals to the brain, keeping you grounded. The inner ear is responsible for both hearing and balance. The vestibular system which sits inside your inner ear is made up of three semicircular canals and otolith organs - the utricle and the saccule. Together these structures from a labyrinth that enables us to perceive and maintain our body’s position in space.

  • Vision: Your eyes provide visual cues about your surroundings, helping you navigate and stay level.

  • The Brain: This maestro combines information from your inner ear and vision to orchestrate your balance and posture.

The Role of the Vestibular System and Balance

The semicircular canals are crucial for detecting rotational movements of the head. When we turn our heads or move in a circular motion, the fluid within these canals shifts, triggering hair cells to send signals to the brain about the direction and speed of the movement.

On the other hand, the otolith organs, the utricle and saccule, detect linear movements and the orientation of the head concerning gravity. They contain tiny crystals and hair cells that respond to changes in head position, helping us stay upright and navigate our surroundings with precision. Sometimes there can be issues with your inner ear or these crystals which we can assess and specifically treat.

Sometimes, this delicate orchestra can get out of sync, leading to dizziness. Some common culprits include:

Common Inner Ear Disorders Leading to "Dizziness"

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): This condition is characterized by brief episodes of dizziness triggered by specific head movements. It occurs when calcium carbonate crystals dislodge from the utricle and migrate into the semicircular canals.

Meniere's Disease: Meniere's disease is a chronic disorder of the inner ear that causes vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, and ringing in the ears (tinnitus). It is believed to result from an abnormal buildup of fluid in the inner ear.

Vestibular Migraines: Migraines can sometimes be accompanied by vestibular symptoms, including dizziness and imbalance. These symptoms may arise independently or precede the onset of a headache.

There are many other causes of dizziness,  but your healthcare professional will explore these.  

Feeling off balance - What can we do about it?

At MOVE we are passionate about helping you get back to moving and doing what you love. Claire Doolan is specifically trained to assess and treat your dizziness. In session, we will complete some tests to find out why you may be feeling off balance. We may also discuss:

Epley Maneuver: Used to treat BPPV, this series of head movements helps relocate displaced crystals within the inner ear canals. At Move our trained physiotherapists can perform this or other vestibular maneuvers based on your presentation.

Medications: In some cases, medications such as anti-vertigo drugs or anti-nausea medications may be prescribed to alleviate symptoms. We can work with your pharmacist and GP to help point you in the right directions

Lifestyle Modifications: Dietary changes, stress management, and regular exercise can contribute to overall vestibular health and reduce the frequency and severity of symptoms. We also have regular exercise strength and balance classes, to address your specific problems in relation to your balance and dizziness.

Physiotherapy: Vestibular rehabilitation exercises are designed to improve balance and reduce dizziness by promoting adaptation and compensation within the vestibular system. Again we will work with you to work out specifically what you need.

At MOVE Sports Physio, we are passionate about empowering you to reclaim your balance and get back to doing what you love. Our experienced physiotherapists, like Claire Doolan, are specially trained to assess and treat "dizziness". We'll work with you to diagnose the cause and develop a personalized plan to get you back on your feet, feeling steady and confident.

A physical therapy session in progress, with a therapist guiding clients through corrective movements.

So, don't let dizziness sideline you any longer. Take the first step towards a life of balance and well-being.

Remember, you're not alone in this. With the right support and proactive approach, you can overcome dizziness and rediscover the joy of movement. Book an appointment and we can help you get moving in the right direction.

Contact Move Sports Physio today and let's get you moving in the right direction!


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