Stop the Spinning and Reclaim your Balance: December 2, 2012

If your world is spinning, you’re not alone. Millions of Americans suffer from vertigo and it’s putting them off-balance.

“Especially our older population. They’ll also have a lot of anxiety, fear of falling, because of the symptoms. They don’t want to move because when they move they get dizzy,” says Dawn Root, vestibular specialist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Vertigo is the most common type of dizziness in seniors and one of the top reasons they fall. Slips and falls are nothing to take lightly; they’re the leading cause of injury or death in the elderly.

“Mortality rates can be very high. In fact only about a quarter of the people get back to their previous activities and lifestyle where they can live independently again,” says Nathalie Grondin, physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

So what causes the spinning and can you stop it? The key to vertigo is all in our heads. We all have crystals deep in our inner ear and sometimes they get loose. 

“So when the patient moves their head in certain positions, the crystals will move within the canal, and then that will create the symptoms of vertigo,” says Root.

These odd-looking maneuvers can put those crystals back in place, eliminating the dizziness.

“The goal of therapy is to move the patient in certain positions to move those crystals along the canal and then back out into the central area where the body will then break them down and reabsorb them,” says Root.

With the proper treatment, it’s possible to reclaim your balance.

“Balance is so important because it’s part of our every day life,” says Grondin.

And put the dizzying experience behind you.