In this blog, I discuss the topic of vertigo exercises that are given to a patient without a proper root cause assessment.
Two months ago, I had the honor of presenting my third UCSD Stein Public Lecture, this one with the title, “Dizziness and Vertigo, Part II – Research in Aging.”
My goal was to offer an integrated perspective of root causes of dizziness and vertigo from different body systems to empower patients to advocate for themselves, and to offer healthcare providers a new approach to resolving these uncomfortable symptoms.
At the end of my public lecture, there was time set aside for questions from the audience.
One of the questions that was asked by an audience member was: “My doctor gave me a sheet of vertigo exercises to do and I have been doing them every day but they don’t help. Should I continue with these vertigo exercises?”
My answer to her was that for some mild cases of vertigo, certain exercises may reduce if not completely eliminate the symptoms. However, if vertigo exercises are not helping at all or feel like they may be making vertigo symptoms worse, then they are likely not appropriate for that particular patient at that time.
In her case, there was a lack of Root Cause Evaluation and that was the reason that the vertigo exercises prescribed were not effective.
No one had actually assessed her for the cause of her vertigo symptoms, but instead she was given a generalized set of vertigo exercises for treatment.
When she realized that the exercises were not helping, this woman did not know what other options were available.
My guidance in cases like this is to find a healthcare provider who is a Vestibular Expert and advocate for a specialty evaluation for dizziness and vertigo. Providers who offer Vestibular Rehabilitation should be able to recommend appropriate vertigo exercises, if needed, for anyone who suffers from dizziness or vertigo.
The exciting fact is that in many cases, skilled care by the right provider can resolve dizziness and vertigo without any need for further vertigo exercises.
It depends on the root cause of the vertigo, which will determine which vertigo exercises are needed, if any.
The first step is the find the right healthcare provider.
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.
Right now I am doing therapy to help resolve my dizziness, but it seems like it’s not working
Because I still get sudden attacks ..
The last one was terrible and lasted over an hour
Vertigo can happen to anyone at any time!
The question you and your therapist must sort out is what is causing these attacks.
For example, a virus, BPPV, vestibular migraines, and Meniere’s are all potential causes of sudden vertigo attacks.
However all those vertigo attacks will have different characteristics.
My suggestion is that you record your observations in the format that I share in this blog.
Then find a provider using the directories in this article.
That might be a good next step if you feel the therapy is not working.
In this article and this article, I share barriers to vestibular recovery that may be slowing down your progress. If you think any of those apply to you, you can discuss with your therapist or doctor.
I hope that helps and I hope you find some answers soon!
Kim Bell, DPT
I am glad i read the article as i myself was given a set of exercises to do by a Dr that i spoke to during a telephone consultation. The exercises made me feel much worse and at one stage i fell off my bed and hit my head. i got back in touch with Dr’s surgery and another Dr also said it sounds like vertigo/ BPPV yet neither of them asked to see me, do any tests etc..a friend of mine asked how on earth they diagnose without seeing a patient and says i need to see someone about this.