Vertigo: Causes and management

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Vertigo is one of the most common health problems in adults, with 40 percent of the population experiencing vertigo at some point in their lifetime.

Vertigo is a sensation of environmental spinning that affects the vestibular system, which controls our orientation in space, balance, gaze stabilization and alignment with our midline. A spinning sensation is the main symptom of the condition, which is often confused with dizziness or lightheadedness.

Vertigo is caused by either peripheral factors (inner ear) or central factors (brain). Positional vertigo is the most common peripheral cause of the condition, which occurs when the crystals in the inner ear move out of place. This form of vertigo can be successfully treated with the Epley maneuver, in which medical professionals use a combination of movements to relocate the crystals to their proper position. Stroke, traumatic brain injury, Multiple Sclerosis and migraines are common central causes of vertigo.

It is important for individuals who think they may be experiencing vertigo to take note of any triggers of the condition, how long it lasts, what makes it worse and/or better, and any symptoms that accompany it. These are important items to discuss with your doctor to ensure the proper treatment.

Depending on your condition, you may be referred to vestibular rehabilitation. This is a treatment designed to minimize dizziness, improve balance, and prevent falls; it also teaches patients exercises to help their system adapt to and compensate for what is causing the vertigo. Cone Health Neurorehabilitation Center has an exceptional team of physical therapists and related healthcare providers who specialize in vestibular rehabilitation and other successful forms of therapy, to treat patients with vertigo throughout the community.

Spokesperson Background:

Christina Weaver is a licensed physical therapist and balance and vestibular specialist at Cone Health Neurorehabilitation Center.  Christina received a Bachelor of Science in zoology at N.C. State University in 1996, and a Master’s of physical therapy from Western Carolina University in 1998.  She also received her vestibular certification from Emory University in 2002.