Finding Balance When You Have Vertigo


You feel as if your world is spinning and you’ve lost the ability to move confidently because of vertigo. One of the best ways to restore balance to your life is through vestibular rehabilitation.

For clients struggling with vertigo, the path toward feeling steadier on their feet is through vestibular rehabilitation. At TLC Physical Therapy, Jason LaMendola, PT, leads a team of skilled physical therapy experts, including vestibular specialists. Here’s how it works.

Vertigo explained

Interestingly, 40% of people develop vertigo at some point in their lives — some temporarily, while others struggle with ongoing problems.

Vertigo typically stems from one of two areas:

  1. Peripheral vertigo — a problem in your inner ear, such as an infection or fluid buildup
  2. Central vertigo — an issue in your brain, such as a stroke or brain injury 

Whatever the cause of your vertigo, the condition can leave you feeling as if your surroundings are moving or that you’re moving, even when you’re not. 

How vestibular rehabilitation works

The human body is equipped with a vestibular system that enables a sense of balance and a sense of body positioning in relation to the world around it. This system is largely found in the structures of your inner ear, which send signals to your brain. Through vestibular rehabilitation, we work toward improving vestibular system function and the communication between your brain and this system.

For example, one of the most common causes of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) — 20% of people who seek medical help for dizziness have BPPV. This condition, which is an inner ear disorder, causes moderate to severe vertigo when you move your head.

If your vertigo is due to BPPV, we work on head and trunk positioning exercises called canalith repositioning procedures. These maneuvers are designed to improve vestibular function through positioning work, such as moving the tiny crystals in your inner ear to combat vertigo.

If your vertigo is causing you to feel less than steady on your feet, we work on retraining your brain to better process the signaling from your vestibular system. These exercises may include eye, body positioning, and balance work.

On top of the vestibular and balance work that we do here, we also supply you with exercises you can do at home.

If your vertigo is going to be an ongoing problem, we also include functional therapy, which is physical therapy that helps you function in the world around you. Through functional physical therapy, we focus on workarounds for certain situations in which your vertigo may be harmful (causing you to fall, etc.).

If you’re struggling with vertigo and want to find much-needed balance, contact one of our offices on the North and South Shores of Staten Island, in Englishtown, New Jersey, or Midtown Manhattan in New York City to learn more about vestibular rehabilitation.

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