Doctor Shopping for Vertigo Care

Many patients with dizziness and vertigo are tempted to start doctor shopping for vertigo care. However, I have observed that this approach may ultimately cause disappointment.

For purposes of this article, I am defining “doctor shopping” as seeking treatment from multiple providers for a single illness episode. Many patients with dizziness or vertigo jump around from one provider to the next, never completing a vertigo treatment plan.

I think that doctor shopping for vertigo care occurs for a few reasons. In this article, I will share some reasons that people with dizziness may “doctor shop” and why that approach may backfire.

Seeking the Quick Fix

First of all, many patients with dizziness or vertigo are looking for that “quick fix” or magic pill to cure them.

Who can blame them really?

Patients are hoping to find a healthcare provider who can offer a fast and easy vertigo treatment plan. After the initial one or two visits, the patient may decide to start doctor shopping for vertigo care.

The patient may be hoping to switch to another healthcare provider who can get them better faster. They may be looking for another vertigo treatment plan that requires less time or effort on their part.

Yet in many cases, that is an unrealistic expectation for vertigo care.

Sure, I see a new patient about once every month who feels 100% better after the first visit. But that result is rare!

Recovering from dizziness or vertigo is usually a process that occurs over a number of treatments. Sometimes a full recovery can require vertigo care for many weeks. A vertigo treatment plan may also involve homework, yet many patients just want to “be fixed” passively.

That desire to “be fixed” can cause patients to jump to another provider before finishing their vertigo treatment plan. Seeking a quick fix can cause patients to start doctor shopping for vertigo care.

For most patients with dizziness or vertigo, the magic pill just does not exist.

Treatment Can Cause a Flare Up

Secondly, patients may feel worse after medical treatments for dizziness or vertigo. That may cause them to start doctor shopping for vertigo care.

As part of the discussion about informed consent before starting vertigo care, I like to tell my new patients the following:

“If you don’t feel that your symptoms are worse at some point either during or after my evaluation, then I really didn’t find anything.”

Translation: Feeling worse during or after a vestibular physical therapy session is usually beneficial to your overall recovery process.

The hangover after vertigo care can last for 12-48 hours. This type of discomfort may even occur when the treatment is correct and was successful. A flare up of symptoms during vertigo treatments or afterwards is completely normal. However, feeling worse may cause them to lose confidence in their provider or seek care alternatives.

Patients may shop for other doctors in an attempt to find someone who does not flare up their dizziness or vertigo during treatments. However, in many cases, the only way through it is… through it.

That is why you must find a provider who you trust to walk with you through the vertigo recovery process.

Doctor Shopping May Limit Your Results

The problem is that “doctor shopping” can hinder the correct and complete execution of your vertigo treatment plan.

If the patient shops around to seek initial opinions from various providers, but never selects a trusted team to complete the diagnostic process and the vestibular rehab, then it may limit the ongoing diagnostic process and limit the final level of recovery.

If you have exhausted your options for vertigo care, you are welcome to request a consultation with me. All of my care is provided in person for people in San Diego County and those who can travel here to work with me.


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.

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