Feeling Dizzy? Here’s What You Can Do
Vertigo and dizziness are common results of vestibular disorders, which affect parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance and eye movements. These disorders can make daily life difficult by causing tumbles and other accidents.
However, there are several techniques that can help, such as a combination of therapy and exercises to improve balance and help decrease feelings of dizziness.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center (HVHC) has been at the forefront of treating vestibular disorders by using the latest technology. One innovation is evaluating a patient with a Frenzel lens, which combines magnifying glasses with a lighting system.
The procedure works by placing Frenzel’s goggles on the patient while darkening the room. As a result, nystagmus can easily be seen because the patient’s eyes are well illuminated and magnified. Fixation is also removed because the patient can hardly focus through magnifying glasses in a dark room, creating a thorough evaluation.
HVHC educates patients on the best ways to manage symptoms so they can more safely engage in daily activities, such as climbing stairs and driving a vehicle. Programs may include:
• visual exercises
• gaze stabilization exercises
• vestibular adaptation and substitution
• canalith repositioning technique
• balance retraining
• habituation exercises for motion sensitivity
“We use specific exercises to decrease dizziness, increase balance, and increase functional activity,” says Betty Landis, Director of Rehabilitation Services at HVHC.
Other types of treatment for vestibular disorders include:
• Vestibular Rehabilitation therapy (VRT): This remedy uses head, body, and eye exercises designed to help the brain recognize and process signals from the vestibular system and coordinate them with a patient’s vision and proprioception.
• Canalith repositioning maneuvers: The treatment is another component of VRT that treats benign paroxysmal positional vertigo. This therapy is often referred to as the Epley maneuver, and involves a series of specifically patterned head and trunk movements to move tiny displaced otoliths to a place in the inner ear where they can’t cause problems.
• Home exercises: An appropriate workout can be assigned by physical or occupational therapists at a prescribed pace, along with a progressive fitness program to increase energy and reduce stress.
• Dietary adjustments: Certain types of food can help many people that suffer from Ménière’s disease, secondary endolymphatic hydrops, and migraines associated with dizziness.
• Counseling: Support is available to help people cope with lifestyle changes, depression, and other symptoms that might come from suffering from vestibular disorders.
If these techniques are not effective, medication is available to treat the disorder. Surgery is another option, depending on the individual’s diagnosis and physical condition.
HVHC recently expanded its services to treat vestibular disorders and now has three locations where patients can receive therapy: Cold Spring, Cortlandt Manor, and Hopewell Junction. The hospital also has three physical therapists – Maureen Brann, Bart Roman, and Jennifer Garofalo – who provide the service.
To learn more about vestibular therapy program, call 914-734-3251.
Hudson Valley Hospital Center
1980 Crompond Road
Cortlandt Manor, NY 10567