By: Dr. Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP, Cert. DN
As human beings, the act of maintaining balance is something we take for granted until it becomes negatively affected! In fact, dizziness is the third most common complaint reported to physicians behind chest pain and fatigue. An estimated 42% of the adult population reports episodes of dizziness or vertigo to their physicians; in 85% of patients reporting these symptoms, the cause is vestibular dysfunction. Disorders of the balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear can be caused by a wide range of conditions. On a daily basis, the physical therapists at Professional Rehabilitation Services (PRS) are proud to be able to help patients overcome these issues by way of vestibular rehabilitation. The vestibular system is in part, responsible for postural control by way of providing the central nervous system with information about the position and movement of the head, eye stabilization, and coordinated movements to control the position of the body. When the vestibular system is deficient or injured, the ability to maintain balance is diminished and subsequently puts an individual at risk for falls. Reported symptoms may include dizziness, vertigo (spinning of the room or person), difficulty focusing, blurred vision, and lightheadedness.
The vestibular system is composed of three major components. First, a peripheral sensory apparatus located in the inner ear. Second, a central processing system, which is basically the interaction between nerves and the brain. Third, a motor output system, which is the movements and reflexes that are responsible for orienting our eye and body movements. All in all, it basically comes down to the gathering of information, processing of information, followed by a reaction of the body. Thus, when the information received is wrong or processed incorrectly, the subsequent movements are dysfunctional; leading to complaints of dizziness, lightheadedness, spinning, disequilibrium, etc. At PRS, our therapists are trained in vestibular rehabilitation, which is a treatment approach that reduces the symptoms of dizziness and vertigo by promoting central nervous system compensation. Our main area of focus is on peripheral vestibular disorders because it is the most common origin for patient signs and symptoms.
Within the umbrella of peripheral vestibular disorders is reduced vestibular dysfunction which is characterized by reduced sensitivity of the peripheral sensory apparatus to stimuli resulting in decreased functioning of the vestibular system. Examples include age related degeneration of hair cells, brain trauma, vascular compromise, and drug induced conditions. Patient symptoms include dizziness, unsteadiness, and motion sensitivity. Physical therapy efforts are aimed at providing specific exercises that trigger and enhance reflexes responsible for maintaining balance.
Also within peripheral disorders is distorted vestibular function which is characterized by inaccurate transduction of sensory information typically due to a mechanical disruption. Examples include benign positional paroxysmal vertigo (BPPV), a condition in which there is displaced calcium carbonate within the inner ear matrix giving way to the illusion of movement. Normally, this calcium carbonate is embedded in a gel matrix on top of tiny hair cells. Individuals with BPPV experience motion or position induced vertigo, in other words changes in body position causing a sense of spinning or unsteadiness. Physical therapy efforts are aimed at repositioning the displaced calcium carbonate as well as providing specific exercises aimed increasing the patient's ability to tolerate changes in position.
If you are anyone you know suffers with dizziness, vertigo, or balance issues; then you need to seek consultation with one of the physical therapists of Professional Rehabilitation Services. We have great success with treating patient who live with these issues. Most, if not all patients, wish they had sought treatment earlier and are amazed at the results.
At Professional Rehabilitation Services we pride ourselves in distinction, and one of our Board Certified Orthopedic Physical Therapists will pursue an individualized treatment approach to your needs. Less than 5% of physical therapists in South Carolina are board certified in orthopedics. All physical therapists at Professional Rehabilitation Services are board certified. So if you or someone you know is having neuromusculoskeletal pain and/or suffers with Fibromyalgia Syndrome and would like to know more about physical therapy options, seek the consultation of a physical therapist at one of our three locations or see your physician for a referral to one of our facilities.
At Professional Rehabilitation Services, we treat a wide variety of neuromusculoskeletal conditions using the latest in evidence based therapies provided by highly credentialed physical therapists. In addition to being licensed physical therapists, our providers have additional specialty certifications and training in orthopedics, manual therapy, sports, strength and conditioning, vestibular treatment, and dry needling. For further information on this or other related topics you can contact Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP at Professional Rehabilitation Services (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, Brian P. Kinmartin PT, DPT, MTC, OCS, STC, CWcHP, Cert. DN, (Pawleys Island) (843) 235-0200, Richard A. Owens, PT, MS, OCS, Cert. SHT, CWcHP, Cert DN (Surfside) (843) 831-0163 at Professional Rehabilitation Services, Richard DeFalco, DPT, OCS, CSCS, CWcHP, Cert. DN (Myrtle Beach) (843) 839-1300, or visit our website at www.prsrehabservices.com where you can learn more about the company and even download a referral form for you physician to fill out. You can also call and schedule a free 15-minute consultation!