As a Vestibular Physical Therapist, I am a physical therapist that specializes in helping people with dizziness, vertigo, balance problems, and falls.

A Vestibular Physical Therapist Will Look for the Root Cause

When I get a dizzy patient, I look at the symptoms and the problems, but then I look deeper for the root causes.

I want to find what is causing the dizziness. The root causes are often connected and there are often multiple causes.

I believe that the lack of root cause analysis for dizziness is one of the reasons why so many people are dizzy. Many cases go unsolved.

That is one of the reasons why dizziness is the number one complaint to physicians from people over 65.

The first step is to notify your doctor, and comply with whatever tests and referrals your doctor orders.

Next, I suggest is to seek a consultation with a Vestibular physical therapist.

Vestibular physical therapy is also called:

  • Vestibular Rehab
  • Vestibular Rehabilitation
  • VPT
  • Vestibular physiotherapy


Those terms are synonyms.

The Unanswered Question is “Why”

Many health professionals are not taking the time to figure out WHY a person is dizzy.

For example, in my blog How Incontinence Contributes to Falls, I discuss dizziness as a symptom of purposeful dehydration if you have incontinence.

Another example, in my other blog I discuss that dizziness with standing can be a symptom of foot neuropathy. If you stand up and the blood vessels in your legs don’t have the proper response to standing because of neuropathy, you could get dizzy when you stand up.

Those are just two examples of conditions that can cause dizziness and there are countless others. So, the question with dizziness that really has to be answered is “Why?

Track Your Triggers to Help Identify the Cause

You can help your healthcare provider or your Vestibular Physical Therapist in the diagnostic process of your dizziness by tracking your symptom onset, triggers, and duration.

I have written this article about common triggers for vertigo and dizziness, to help you organize your thoughts before you visit with the vestibular physical therapist.

What does this mean? This means to make a summary in a timeline format of when you have been dizzy.

Note when you got dizzy. Then describe the onset, the possible trigger, and how long you felt dizzy.

For example — maybe you bent down to tie your shoe and sat up and felt dizzy for 20 seconds. Keep this information as a summary of all the episodes of dizziness you have had.

When you present this type of summary with this data to someone who specializes in dizziness, they should be able to fast-track your diagnostic process and treatment plan because this helps them do their root cause analysis.

Even if you can’t explain exactly how you felt with the dizziness, that is OK. Don’t stress about the exact description.

All we really need to know is the data – the onset, the trigger, and the duration – of any symptoms of dizziness. This will help with determining the root cause.

Keep note of your triggers but do not let it become an obsession.

Gather your Test Results

If you have seen other specialists, you can bring those reports with you to your Vestibular Physical Therapist.

Bring a copy of any tests like MRI, CT scan, X-rays, hearing tests, or bloodwork.

The vestibular physical therapist will look it all over, but they will also do their own hands-on exam.

A hands-on exam is a unique quality in healthcare these days.

A lot of healthcare providers are no longer putting their hands on a patient to test anything, and are just relying all on diagnostic tests. But dizziness and inner ear problems, or vestibular problems, are actually superiorly assessed by a hands-on exam.

Vestibular Physical Therapists Love Dizzy Patients

There are many reasons why it is important to get to a Vestibular Physical Therapist who can help you figure out the root cause.

Many healthcare providers are confused, or feel helpless, when trying to treat dizzy patients. This can limit the results of your care.

However, vestibular physical therapists live for these difficult cases and challenging patients.

If you are having trouble with dizziness, don’t lose hope. Vestibular physical therapists love dizzy patients like you!

This article can help you to find a Vestibular Physical Therapist in your area who can give you proper treatment to reduce, if not completely resolve, the dizziness.


This blog is provided for informational and educational 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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