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UNDERSTANDING BALANCE


BASICS

Why am I dizzy?

Dizziness and imbalance can have both vestibular and non-vestibular causes. The inner ear vestibular organs signal to your brain whether you are moving and how your head is oriented relative to gravity. Your brain then integrates these signals with those received from your eyes, muscles, and joints. When any part of the vestibular system malfunctions, this process of integration breaks down, and dizziness and other symptoms may result.  Medical evaluation from a qualified vestibular specialist at Millburn Physical Therapy is essential for determining whether your dizziness is caused by a vestibular problem, some other cause, or a combination of factors.  Should be we find that your case is not within our capabilities to treat you will be referred back to your physician to arrange for a Ears Nose and Throat specialist to determine the cause of your issues.  Millburn Physical Therapy is the only office in Essex county that has Physical Therapists specializing in Balance working under the safe roof as Dr's of Audiology.

How do I find medical help? What kind of specialist do I need?

Diagnosis and treatment are not always straightforward for vestibular disorders. Vestibular disorders can affect a person in many ways and are often unpredictable, occurring on a constant or intermittent basis. If you’ve reviewed our list of symptoms and suspect you may have a vestibular disorder, or have already been diagnosed but want a second opinion, you can use VEDA’s provider directory to find a health professional that can provide appropriate diagnostic testing. See our list of specialties for more information.  Here at Millburn PT our staff is Certified by the American Institute of Balance to diagnose and treat your balance issues.

www.dizzy.com


What is vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT)?

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a type of physical therapy that helps train the central nervous system to compensate for vestibular dysfunction.  Studies examining the effect of VRT strongly demonstrate its effectiveness in decreasing symptoms of dizziness and imbalance. Most patients suffering from BPPV Balance issues see improvement if not cure in 3-4 visits.


What home-based exercises should I do?

Millburn PT along with VEDA does not recommend doing vestibular exercises at home without a medical diagnosis and a personal treatment plan from a qualified physical or occupational therapist. All vestibular disorders are not the same, and a treatment that will help one person can harm another. 
http://vestibular.org

What medications should I take? What about nutritional supplements or remedies?

Medication is a short-term strategy because it dampens symptoms, making it more difficult for the brain to learn to compensate for vestibular dysfunction. However, for people in an acute stage of dizziness, medication is sometimes used. The kind of medication you are prescribed depends on your medical history and diagnosis.See our page on medications used to treat vestibular disorders for more information.

No nutritional supplement or other remedy has been clinically shown to improve symptoms of vestibular dysfunction. Before adding such substances to your diet, it is vital to check with your doctor about potentially harmful effects, especially if you are taking prescription drugs. It's also important to use extra caution because supplements are not subject to the same stringent standards as drugs. The US Food & Drug Administration (FDA) is a helpful resource for consumer tips for evaluating supplements and remedies. (Return to the top of this page.)


I want to travel. What precautions should I take?

Problematic travel conditions include those that involve exposure to rapid altitude or pressure changes, certain motion patterns, or disturbing lighting. Precautions depend on your specific vestibular disorder, transportation method, and conditions and planned activities at your destination. More information about these factors, as well as strategies and practical tips for managing them, are available in our free short publication, Travel and Vestibular Disorders. This article especially emphasizes the challenges of air travel and includes a table with flying recommendations for most common vestibular disorders.

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