This blog contains an overview of how to manage dizzy spells.
Overview of Dizzy Spells
Dizzy spells have many possible causes, which is called multi-factorial. The multi-factorial nature of dizzy spells is the reason many patients lack a proper, comprehensive root cause evaluation and targeted treatment plan.
All dizzy spells should be reported to the Primary Care Physician.
Sometimes dizziness requires emergency care. If you think you are having a medical emergency, then you should call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.
Specify the Onset, Duration and Trigger when reporting symptoms of dizzy spells to a healthcare provider. Medications may help with symptoms, but often do not resolve root cause of dizziness and have side effects, including dizziness and blurry vision.
Yes – you read that correctly – the common medications given for dizziness and vertigo can cause dizziness as a side effect!
Long term use of medications is only recommended for people with a poor prognosis for recovery or people who are not good candidates for Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Seek Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Consultation with a Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist is highly recommended for assessment and treatment of dizziness, vertigo and balance problems. The inner ear, or vestibular system, can often be the underlying cause of dizzy spells.
You will likely need to see a Physical Therapist who provides Vestibular Rehabilitation, which is also called Vestibular Rehab and Vestibular Physical Therapy.
In California, USA, patients can access Vestibular Rehab through Direct Access by hiring a private physical therapist or with a physician’s referral. Other types of Specialists may be needed for non-vestibular causes of dizziness, such as a Cardiologist (heart doctor) or Ophthalmologist (eye doctor).
When I evaluate my patients, I assess for root cause across all body systems and make recommendations specific to what I find during my exam.
I teach my patients the following strategies to manage dizzy spells – using different strategies when they have good days and when they have bad days.
On Bad Days, minimize discomfort from dizziness and prevent falls.
- Spread your feet wide apart as you walk for better balance.
- Keep your head still while you walk. If you have to turn, stop walking then turn slowly.
- For riding in the car, keep your eyes inside the vehicle, on the dashboard or your lap.
- Try some home remedies that may help.
On Good Days, create a challenge to tune up your balance system.
- Walk as fast as you can safely and practice turning your head while you walk.
- Stand with your feet close together while you brush your teeth or wash dishes.
- Look around while riding in the car.
- Socialize while you can!
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.