Frequently Asked Questions

Dizziness And Vertigo

Dizziness is a common condition with an estimated 5% of the Australian population (over one million people) experiencing dizziness issues at some point in their lives. There are a number of causes for dizziness with treatment options ranging from medication to physiotherapy and psychology.

While dizziness and vertigo have similar symptoms, there are some specific differences. Dizziness is a general term used to describe sensations such as light headedness, giddiness, disorientation and unsteadiness that have a number of causes, including inner ear disorders (vestibular), reduced blood flow to the brain (vascular), neck (cervicogenic), psychological factors and mild traumatic brain injury such as concussion. Vertigo is easier to describe and involves a sensation that the room or the environment is spinning.

Research has determined that inner ear (vestibular) disorders are the cause for dizziness and vertigo in at least 50% of cases, but as causation is difficult to determine, dizziness and vertigo are often associated with significant frustration, anxiety and depression, and can affect a range of everyday activities.

Although there are a number of different causes, cases of cervicogenic dizziness and Benign Positional Vertigo are commonly seen in private physiotherapy practice as they are conditions that can be treated with physiotherapy techniques.

However, there are other causes that will be referred to a neurologist as these professionals are able to organise the specific tests that help them to arrive at a diagnosis. Tests may include a hearing test, a brain (MRI) scan, blood tests and specific balance function tests. Methods of treatment will be dependent on the results of these tests.

Cervicogenic causes of dizziness (due to tightness in the upper neck) can be addressed in private practice settings, with manual therapies such as joint mobilisation, soft tissue release and/or dry needling.

Research has shown that physio is highly effective in the treatment of vestibular disorders such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) which is a form of dizziness due to a specific inner ear condition. If your symptoms of vertigo are triggered by or made worse by changing position (turning in bed), then it’s likely that your issue is an inner ear problem (BPPV) which can be readily treated by a private practice physio experienced in treating this disorder.

A technique known as the Epley manoeuvre can successfully treat BPPV but should be performed by a physio with specific skills. LifeForce has physios with training and experience in the re-positioning treatment techniques necessary to resolve the symptoms of BPPV.