Recently, I was chatting with a retired physician about my clinical specialty in Dizziness and Vertigo.
We had a good laugh about the fact that an entire clinical practice could be built around one main symptom.
After I explained to him the potentially life-changing or life-threatening implications of mismanaging or ignoring symptoms of dizziness and vertigo, he seemed to understand more of my motivations for specializing in this area.
I have simply met too many nice people who have sustained brain injuries, hip fractures, shoulder fractures, wrist fractures, facial fractures, bruises, bumps or spinal cord injuries from falls, with many due to chronic unresolved Dizziness and Vertigo.
Dizziness and Vertigo also cause undesirable feelings like a fear of falling, symptoms of anxiety and depression, and a reduced quality of life for those who suffer, not to mention physical deconditioning and muscle weakness from reduced daily activity levels.
Early in my career, before I had the experience and clinical skills I have developed today, I used to think of complaints of Dizziness and Vertigo as an inconvenience and interruption to my treatment plan.
When I was a beginning physical therapist, I did not have the skills to address the complaints of Dizziness and Vertigo as the focus of my care with a targeted, comprehensive assessment and intervention to reduce, if not completely eliminate, those symptoms.
Once I started studying this subject in detail in early 2006, I was able to resolve an elderly woman’s complaints of chronic dizziness and repeated falls with only two treatments for BPPV.
We then completed some follow up visits for walking stability and balance training, since she had been debilitated for so long and lost a lot of strength. She bounced back to a great quality of life and even resumed driving!
Before we met, she had been suffering for about 20 years and had previously seen many doctors and physical therapists. She had even been hospitalized multiple times due to dizziness and fall-related injuries.
For me, that experience was life-changing. I saw her get her life back!
Now, over 11 years later, I feel compelled to spread the word about the importance of a proper Root Cause Evaluation and Skilled Treatment for anyone suffering with Dizziness or Vertigo.
The results of mismanaging, misunderstanding or ignoring these symptoms can be life-threatening and debilitating. The resulting mental health overlay is devastating.
The cure for many who suffer is very simple.
The key to determining the prognosis is the Root Cause Evaluation for the symptoms of Dizziness and Vertigo.
This type of specialized hands-on examination, when performed by a specialized and skilled clinician, is superior to an MRI in many cases.
Due to the prevalence of falls in the elderly and my common findings of unrecognized BPPV in chronic fallers, I am proposing that all Primary Care Providers and all Geriatric Providers learn how to at least screen for BPPV and make appropriate referrals to Vestibular Specialists.
I am excited to spread my message of hope to those who suffer through this television news segment that aired in Baltimore, MD.
This blog is provided for informational purposes only. The content and any comments by Dr. Kim Bell, DPT are not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. The details of any case mentioned in this post represent a typical patient that Dr. Bell might see and do not describe the circumstances of a specific individual.