PT& Rehab Specialists:Vertigo vs Head Cold

The Therapy Bulletin The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body

HAPPY HOLIDAYS! Whether you’re settling in at home to watch the snow fall with a mug of hot cocoa, or planning a cross-country excursion with family, Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists wishes you a happy and healthy holiday season. It is no secret that the holidays can be a physically stressful time, and we want to let you know we are here for you, should any pain or discomfort come your way. May you have a holiday season filled with comfort and joy, followed by a fruitful new year.

With warmth, The Staff At Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists

DECEMBER 2018 The Therapy Bulletin The Newsletter About Your Health And Caring For Your Body HEAD COLD VS. VERTIGO SIGNS YOUR “COMMON COLD” ISN’T AS COMMON AS YOU THINK

The most common causes of vertigo are: • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo – also known as BPPV. While this sounds like a scary, long-winded diagnosis, it is essentially a type of vertigo that can be easily corrected in often times 1-2 visits. This type of vertigo occurs when microscopic calcium particles, called otoconia, are floating in the semicircular canals of the vestibular system. The vestibular system is responsible for telling us where our head is in space in relation to positioning. When the otoconia travels into the canals, it sends incorrect message to the brain resulting in a spinning sensation or dizziness that lasts a few seconds to a minute. A person may feel like they are walking on boat following the spinning episode. • Meniere’s Disease – This is a disorder of the vestibular system caused by fluctuating pressures within the canals of the vestibular system creating a microscopic hole in the membrane of the canal. This results in severe constant dizziness or vertigo that does not stop with changing positions and can last hours or days. Meniere’s Disease can also cause tinnitus, commonly referred to as ringing in the ears, and even hearing loss in extreme cases. • Vestibular Neuritis – Also known as labyrinthitis, is caused by inflammation along the vestibular nerve causing vertigo symptoms. Loss of balance is often seen with quick movements of the head, closed eyes, or at night with poor lighting. Inflammation along the nerve often follows a viral infection such as shingles. As you can see, the most common causes of vertigo are due to issues with the inner ear. However, some less common causes of vertigo can include:

Do you find yourself getting dizzy doing everyday tasks, such as getting out of bed or walking down the driveway to get the mail? Do you find it hard to focus on one thing for long periods of time? Do you feel fatigued, lightheaded, or nauseous at any given time of the day? If so, some of these can be signs of a common head cold – but they can also be signs of vertigo. A head cold, also referred to as the “common cold” is exactly that - it is one of the most common ailments people experience each year. On average, an adult will typically get 2-3 head colds a year. You know the feeling - stuffy nose, sore throat, dry cough, achiness… the overall feeling of wanting to stay in bed and drink herbal tea all day. Luckily, for head colds, that’s actually the best remedy! Most of these “common colds” will go away on their own (with a little relaxation and maybe a cough drop or two) within a week. However, if your fatigue becomes severe, you begin feeling nauseous, or you start experiencing an overwhelming feeling of dizziness or imbalance, there is a chance you could have vertigo. If so, our physical therapists at Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists can help relieve your symptoms. What is Vertigo? Before you can determine whether or not you have vertigo, as opposed to a head cold, it is important to understand what exactly it is. People who experience vertigo typically report an overwhelming sensation of feeling “off balance.” It can make someone feel dizzy or a spinning sensation, which can lead to nausea, loss of balance, and fatigue. Imagine standing still and feeling as if the rest of the world is spinning around you – remember those fun-houses with the uneven floors you used to go in as a kid? That’s essentially what vertigo feels like. But what exactly causes it?

• Injury to the head or neck • Migraines • Medications

• Stroke • Brain tumor

The most common symptoms of vertigo are: • Dizziness – this is the most commonly reported symptom of vertigo, also referred to as swaying, spinning, tilting, or even the sensation of being pulled to one direction. • Nystagmus – this is the phenomenon of experiencing uncontrollable eye movements, commonly referred to as “eye jerks.” • Tinnitus – this is commonly referred to as “a ringing of the ears.”

• Headaches • Nausea • Vomiting • Fatigue • Sweating • Fainting • Hearing loss


It can undoubtedly be difficult to determine when to seek treatment for something. It is true that vertigo can sometimes go away on its own, but it can also progress and result in worsening symptoms over time. Why would you want to take the risk? If you believe you may have the symptoms of vertigo or one of its causes, it is important to consult with a doctor immediately. Physical therapy is a common treatment for vertigo, and our staff at Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists are trained to help alleviate any dizzying, lightheaded, or physically unstable symptoms you may be experiencing. The most common treatments for vertigo are: • Vestibular Rehabilitation – this form of physical therapy focuses on the vestibular system, located within the inner ear, and the ways in which we can strengthen it. The vestibular system sends the gravitational messages to your brain about your body movements, and focusing on balance-specific exercises can help in strengthening this system, thus diminishing the effects of vertigo. • Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers – This form of physical therapy uses specific movements of the head and body to reposition the otoconia from the vestibular canals to where they belong restoring proper signaling to the brain on head movements.

If you believe you may be experiencing vertigo, contact Physical Therapy & Rehab Specialists for a consultation today. At our practice, we value Integrity, Honesty, Respect, and Courtesy. Our physical therapists are ambitious about guiding our patients down a smooth and compassionate path toward well-being. Don’t settle for dizziness – let us help you get back in balance.

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Therapist Spotlight

Patient Success Spotlight

“I had neck and shoulder pain related to work/stress. Every time I lift or just look down my neck would go numb. It limited me from lifting quite a bit. I have been coming here for 6 years and I have had great results. I feel like I’m apart of the family when I go to my appointment. The staff makes you feel very comfortable and they don’t force you into anything. I highly recommend this place. Every time I need physical therapy, I always tell my Dr. I would like to come here.” - S.F. “Every time I need physical therapy, I always tell my Dr. I would like to come here.”

“To me physical therapy is about so much more than just exercise. I believe education is also a crucial component of physical therapy, giving patients’ a greater control of their treatment. I love enabling patients to improve their quality of life and to get back to doing things they love. I focus on working together with my patients to create an individualized treatment plan that is both practical and empowers the patient to continue caring for themselves.  My promise to my patients is that I am committed to providing the highest quality of care by using evidence-based practice and continually advancing my knowledge and skills.” Education / Training • Doctorate of Physical Therapy - Central Michigan University • B.S. Biology - Brigham Young University  Abbey Thornock, PT, DPT Please Help Us Welcome Our New Therapist

PRONE HIP EXTENSION Try these movements if you are experiencing hip pain. Exercise Essential

Strengthens Hips

While lying face down with your knee straight, slowly raise up leg off the ground. Hold for 10 seconds then repeat 6 times on both legs.


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