Archive for November, 2009

We Appreciate Our Patients!

Thank you to all of our patients who took part in our Patient Appreciation Day. We had a fun day full of food and raffles as well as former and current patients stopping by to say hello, eat some delicious snacks and ask our Physical Therapists anything and everything about vestibular and orthopedic issues.

Congrats to one of our grand prize raffle winners, Mike C., pictured below with LifeStyle’s fearless leader, Michele. Mike C. went home with a large gift basket full of delicious goodies, just in time to share with friends and family at Thanksgiving!

Patient Appreciation Day

Post-Thanksgiving Football Injuries

We hope that you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! The day after Thanksgiving usually includes a lot of lounging but also can include a fun game of touch football for many. Although the name suggests a nice, gentle game played by friends, it can often become fiersome, competitive tackle football.

You may increase your risk of injury by any of the following:

  • Certain manoeuvres – such as diving for the ball, changing direction and touching.
  • Lack of fitness – a certain level of fitness is required to play touch.
  • Inexperience – beginners may be more likely to be injured because they do not have the skills or technique to meet the demands of the sport.
  • Poor technique – holding or moving the body incorrectly can put unnecessary strain on joints, muscles and ligaments.
  • Failure to wear protective equipment – for example, using mouth guards can reduce the risk of injury.
  • Overtraining – training too much and too often can lead to a wide range of overuse injuries.
  • To decrease your risk of getting injured, consider the following:

  • Develop good skills and technique before playing in competitive games.  
  • Warm up thoroughly before playing. Include plenty of sustained stretches.
  • Cool down after activity. Stretching is also an important part of your cool down routine.
  • Drink plenty of water before, during and after the game.
  • Make sure you are fully aware of and practice the rules of the game.
  • Work at improving your form.
  • Wear appropriate protective equipment, such as a mouth guard.
  • Safe playing to all!

    Depression and Balance Disorders

    After meeting a new evaluation today who came in and explained that doctors told her for years that her dizziness is caused by depression, I did some research on vestibular disorders and depression. I found one article of particular interest.

    A research study is being conducted to use the vestibular system to diagnose depression, anxiety and other mental disorders.

    Vestibular Support Group: Success!

    This past Saturday we held our 4th Vestibular Support Group and what a success it was! Dr. Julia Rahn came and spoke about the psychological challenges of living with a vestibular disorder/chronic illness. Although we had a smaller group than usual, the group was fantastic. While the support group does provide a group speaker, it is a very laid back atmosphere and everyone was free to share their story, their concerns and daily challenges. Although initially we had some timid members, after hearing others share their vestibular story, everyone opened up and even stayed after to swap phone numbers and email addresses.

    We hope that you will consider joining us for the next vestibular support group. For more info:

    During Therapy: Why You May STILL Feel Dizzy!

    There is a good chance that during vestibular rehabilitation therapy you may still feel dizzy. The vestibular system tells your brain where your head is in space (up, down, left…). When the vestibular system is weakened, in an accident or after being sick, the vestibular system has a hard time figuring out where your head is located in space, causing you to be off balance.

    During vestibular rehabiliation therapy, you are doing exercises that are intentionally making you dizzy. Exercises that include moving the head left to right while focusing on a steady object is one example. By focusing on a still object while moving your head left to right, you are re-training the brain to coordinate the information between the senses and the vestibular system so that signals are sent correctly to the brain.

    Your exercises will get increasingly hard as you progress through your therapy and your symptoms may flare up because your brain will not be used to the increase in difficulty (ie. new visual cues). Do not despair, this happens to some of our patients!

    How do you combat this dizziness: Do your exercises at home that your physical therapist provides you with. It will really help you with your dizziness!

    Reminder: Vestibular Support Group

    If you are dizzy, have vertigo or a loss of balance, join us for our vestibular support group on Saturday, November 14th from 11:30am – 1:00pm. We will be joined by Dr. Julia Rahn, clinical psychologist at Flourish Studios, who will discuss the psychological challenges of living with a chronic illness, including vestibular disorders.

    This support group is FREE and a great way to meet others with similar disorders and challenges. RSVP:

    Located at:

    LifeStyle Physical Therapy & Balance Center

    3130 N Lincoln Avenue

    Chicago, IL 60657

    Holiday Shopping and Dizziness

    Most people with dizziness and balance disorders have a difficult time going into large stores like WalMart, Target, Ikea because of the overload on your senses. Marketers in these stores place items by color and in specific areas to catch people’s eyes.

    If you have trouble getting through a supermarket or a busy store, take resting breaks. Go to the bathroom and rest for a few minutes until your symptoms subside – it will make your trip a whole lot longer but will be beneficial for you in the end.

    Why are There no Dizzy Chickens?

    Because chickens can regenerate their inner ear sensory hair cells!chicken

    (Remember: Balance is based on the inner ear sensory hair cells.)

    Humans, though, cannot regenerate inner ear sensory hair cells. Once humans lose their hair cells (whether due to aging), they are gone!


    Exercising Outdoors Through the Winter

    Brrr, it’s cold out there!

    Actually, today is pretty mild for Chicago but I imagine in the impending weeks the temperature will drop and no one will want to leave their houses until May. Well, besides a few of us year-round runners at LifeStyle, who brave the cold to get runs in outdoors rather than stare at the wall on a treadmill.

    It is extremely important to take care of yourself and your body when the temperatures drop. That does not mean just bundling up, but taking care to bundle up correctly. Here are a few tips to remember:

    • Wear a warm hat and thick, warm socks and gloves. If you warm up during your exercise you can always throw the hat and gloves in your pockets or in your waistband. Without these, in cold weather, you will end up losing a lot of unnecessary body heat and your exercise will seem even colder than it is.
    • Make sure your base layer is made of dri-fit or some other moisture wicking fabric. Wearing cotton t-shirts as a base layer is not recommended because it will retain the moisture. I find that cotton shirts often leave me feeling more cold during exercise because of this.
    • Because of daylight savings time, it is now dark by the time a lot of people leave work. Make sure to wear light, reflective clothing, especially if you’re running (safely) through traffic. Make sure you also obey traffic laws in the dark!
    • Make sure to replenish your body with water after your workout. Just because it’s cold out doesn’t mean that you aren’t sweating.

    Vestibular Disorders on Facebook

    If you’re like me, you’re always looking for other individuals who are dealing with problems similar with yours. This is one reason why we at LifeStyle started a Vestibular Support Group and why I post topics that send you away from my blog and to forums!

    While perusing facebook today, I found the group page for the Vestibular Disorders Association, which is a very reliable site for information about vestibular disorders. On this facebook page, there are over 500 members, most with a balance disorder similar to yours.

    Also, consider joining us on LifeStyle’s Facebook fan page as well. Learn health and wellness tips, find out about events at LifeStyle and learn more about vestibular disorders!