Sudden dizziness and motion sickness, vertigo symptoms can be severe for patients. Nancy Finley was diagnosed with vertigo in June. “That morning I woke up and my world was just spinning around me. I was nauseous and I spent the whole day in bed.”
Nathalie Grondin, a physical therapist with Lee Health, says the symptoms often cause patients to experience an illusion of motion. “Basically it’s where someone feels like they’re moving when there’s no movement occurring.”
Nancy’s symptoms of dizziness and nausea were triggered by simple head movements, even making it difficult to ride in the car. “The visual stimulation was overwhelming because cars passing on either side, it was just very unsettling.”
A variety of things can cause vertigo, for Nancy it was an inner ear infection. “In a condition where a person has damage to the inner ear, the nerve, the part of the inner ear, the connections to the brain, that creates a sensory conflict and that creates vertigo,” said Grondin.
Physical therapy works to rebalance the sensory information in the brain by slowly exposing the patient to different visuals and head movements. “What we look at as therapists are impairments. Do they complain of dizziness with walking on uneven surfaces? Or trying to balance in the dark? Or is it head movements? Do they have blurry vision? Jumpy vision? These are the things that we tackle,” said Grondin.
Three months later, Nancy can manage her symptoms. “Initially I couldn’t turn my head right or left without feeling dizzy. But I can do that now. When I experience a symptom, I know what I have to do,” said Nancy.
Nancy does her exercises even when she’s not experiencing vertigo symptoms. Tricks to better manage her symptoms when they surface.
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Lee Health in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of health care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For more than 100 years, we’ve been providing our community with personalized preventative health services and primary care to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries. Lee Health - Caring People. Inspiring Care.