What Is Vertigo And How Can A Physiotherapist Help With Vertigo


In ordinary words, Vertigo refers to a false sense of motion that can occur regardless of whether a person is moving. It is not a serious condition in itself but leads to a possible symptom of several medical conditions.

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a particular type of dizziness defined as the illusion of movement occurring in the circumstances. Vertigo and dizziness are not switchable terms. Dizziness is used to define a variety of sensations like lightheaded, swaying, disoriented, etc. While vertigo is often described as the feeling of the room spinning across or you spinning within the room. Vertigo is usually caused as a result of a disruption of the vestibular system. The vestibular system is made up of small structures found within your inner ear that help regulate your balance as well as tell the brain what direction and speed the head is moving in space.

What are the different types of Vertigo?

There are two main types of vertigo:

  • - Peripheral vertigo: This occurs when there’s a problem with the inner ear.
  • - Central vertigo: This happens when there’s an issue with the brain. Causes of this type of vertigo can be infection, brain tumors, traumatic brain injury, or stroke.

What is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)?

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), is a distinct type of vertigo that is very familiar and is a condition where head movements in different positions elicit vertigo in the patient. Patients often describe their signs of BPPV as the room spinning when they look up, lie down quickly, bend forward, or roll over in bed. But the symptoms will usually vanish within a relatively short duration of time. BPPV affects 50% of people over 70 years of age affecting women more than men. The symptoms of BPPV are induced when small crystals in the ear move into fluid-filled canals in the ear named “semicircular canals”. The ear crystals alter the flow of fluid within these canals directing to vertigo.


Is Vertigo a serious condition?

Vertigo can be risky but the condition itself isn’t considered serious. However, vertigo can be correlated to other potentially serious health conditions. That’s why you should disclose your healthcare provider if you experience recurrent or prolonged vertigo attacks.

What can initiate Vertigo?

Several syndromes or conditions can trigger vertigo. These include:

1) Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV):

The most common reason for vertigo, BPPV, is normally triggered by a change in your head’s position. People with BPPV often experience vertigo when lying down, sitting up, or turning over in bed in fast motion.

2) Meniere’s disease:

This condition induces fluids to build up inside the ear, leading to vertigo attacks. Meniere’s disease may also be experienced by tinnitus (ringing in the ears), fluctuating hearing loss, or a feeling of fullness in the ears.

3) Labyrinthitis:

If the inner ear labyrinth becomes inflamed or infected, the discomfort is called labyrinthitis. The ear labyrinth houses the vestibulocochlear nerve, which sends information to the brain regarding sound, position, and head motion. People suffering from labyrinthitis often experience headaches, ear pain, vision changes, tinnitus, or hearing loss.

4) Vestibular neuritis:

This inflammation of the vestibular nerve also causes vertigo. The only difference between Vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis is that it doesn’t alter your hearing. People with this condition often experience vertigo and nausea or blurred vision.

5) Cholesteatoma:

Repeated ear infections can generate noncancerous skin growth to develop in the middle ear. This condition is referred to as cholesteatoma, which can lead to dizziness, vertigo, and hearing loss.


Additional causes of Vertigo

Other factors can also lead to vertigo attacks. Here are some common vertigo causes, such as:

  • - Migraine headaches.
  • - Certain medications.
  • - Stroke.
  • - Arrhythmia.
  • - Diabetes.
  • - Head injuries.
  • - Prolonged bed rest
  • - Shingles in or near the ear.
  • - Ear surgery.
  • - Perilymphatic fistula (when inner ear fluid leaks into the middle ear).
  • - Hyperventilation.
  • - Low blood pressure (orthostatic hypotension) – a condition in which your blood pressure decreases when you stand up.
  • - Ataxia, or muscle weakness.
  • - Syphilis.
  • - Otosclerosis (a bone growth problem affecting the middle ear).
  • - Brain disease.
  • - Multiple sclerosis (MS).
  • - Acoustic neuroma.

How can a Physiotherapist Help?

Physiotherapists use provoking ways to diagnose BPPV by the use of a series of tests to determine which structure in the vestibular system is influenced and determine the best course of treatment.

Physiotherapists can help drive the ear crystals out of semicircular canals and back into their correct structure, to eliminate vertigo. Usually, with BPPV, a 10-minute procedure performed by a physiotherapist will result in success in a maximum number of patients; repeating the maneuver twice will increase the success rate to another stage.

In The next stage, the physiotherapist will complete a thorough exam of postural control, balance, oculomotor function, and a motion sensitivity assessment once vertigo has cleared to ensure there are no underlying compensatory strategies. The oculomotor and vestibular systems, balance/gait, and the cervical spine (neck) must be examined thoroughly. Then your physiotherapist will create a tailored program to improve the function of these symptoms.


VL Therapy, a popular physiotherapy center in Malaysia works successfully with hundreds of patients with various difficulties and is dedicated to providing a world-class service for every individual. A team of experienced educated and professional physiotherapists is providing various modern treatment plans for Vertigo to make all patients regain their health as per the need for looking not just at the immediate, but also to ensure that the relief becomes sustainable. To know more about the services please visit the official website http://www.vltherapy.com.my/