Archive for the ‘Vestibular Disorders – In Depth’ Category

New Year’s Resolution: Maintain Your Sense of Balance

New Year’s Resolutions are always easy to state and hard to maintain. Lose weight, exercise every day, be nicer to your mother, the list of possibilities are endless.

One senior in Boston, Gail Hunter, came up with the right resolution in an effort to age gracefully: Exercise to maintain your sense of balance.

And she is completely correct.

Physical therapy can do wonders for dizziness and balance disorders, one of them being BPPV. Gail states some statistics in her article from VEDA that 50% of dizziness in the elderly is caused by BPPV and dizziness and imbalance are symptoms experienced by 40% of adults 40 years or older. If you are one of these individuals, therapy with a PT trained in vestibular rehabilitation can get you feeling like a million bucks! (And don’t be afraid to ask for your PTs credentials.)

Check out Gail’s full article:

http://www.examiner.com/x-28418-Boston-Senior-Wisdom-Examiner~y2009m12d21-Positive-New-Years-Resolution-8–Maintain-your-sense-of-balance-B-Steady-there

Waking up Dizzy?

Our new patients in their evaluation often tell us that the initial way that they realized that they had a vestibular disorder was that they turned over in bed and felt a wave of dizziness come over them. This is a key indicator that our patient may have BPPV. BPPV is treatable through physical therapy and through maneuvers like the Epley Maneuver.

Check out the other signs of BPPV:

  • Dizziness
  • A sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving (vertigo)
  • Lightheadedness
  • Unsteadiness
  • A loss of balance
  • Blurred vision associated with the sensation of vertigo
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/vertigo/DS00534/DSECTION=symptoms

    Do you have a Balance Disorder? Take this Self-Test

    Are you concerned that you may have a balance disorder? Take this self-test to determine whether you should go see an ENT or neurologist about a potential balance/neurological disorder.

    http://resourcesonbalance.com/patient_info/printout.aspx

    If you answer “yes” to one or more of the questions, you could be at risk. Make sure you consult with your physician or an ENT/neurologist.

    Testing and Evaluating Your Dizziness

    Every therapist who tests people for balance disorders and dizziness will use similar tests. Here are four examples of the tests that are used, which may include additional explanation if there’s an abundance of scientific terms. Explanations/definitions are in italics and I have edited the copy for better reading comprehension.

    Oculomotor examination

    Assess for an internuclear ophthalmoplegia [eye weakness] and gaze-dependent nystagmus [involuntary movement in the eye that indicates neurological abnormality]. Nystagmus of peripheral [inner ear] origin typically is unidirectional. Nystagmus of brainstem or cerebellar (ie. central) origin may be bidirectional and have more than one direction. Pure vertical nystagmus almost always is a sign of brainstem disease and not a labyrinthine [inner ear] disorder.

    Station (Romberg)

    The…Romberg test is having the patient stand heel to toe with 1 foot in front of the other; this test is required to detect abnormalities in younger patients.

    Fukuda test (stepping test of Unterberger)

    The patient is asked to step in place for 20-30 seconds. Rotation of the patient may indicate a unilateral loss of vestibular tone.

    Dix-Hallpike maneuver

    The Dix-Hallpike maneuver is one of the most important tests for patients who experience true vertigo. This test involves having the patient lie back suddenly with the head turned to one side. The test results are considered abnormal if the patient reports vertigo and exhibits a characteristic torsional (ie. rotary) nystagmus that starts a few seconds after the patient lies back (latency), lasts 40-60 seconds, reverses when the patient sits up, and fatigues with repetition.

    For more information and more tests:

    http://emedicine.medscape.com/article/856440-overview

    Interactive Anatomy of the Ear

    To really get a deep understanding of your ear, its parts and how they work, check out the link below. You can click on the different parts of the vestibular system to learn more about them.

    http://webschoolsolutions.com/patts/systems/ear.htm

    Enjoy!

    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.

    http://www.healthyhearing.com/articles/43720-balance-vestibular-system

    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: info@balancechicago.com