Vertigo is the feeling that either yourself or the world around you is moving, when in fact everything is actually perfectly still.The sensations of movement may involve spinning, falling or tumbling and may be very severe indeed with nausea and vomiting. Sometimes people even report that they have problems whilst asleep and wake in the night in a panic. Dizziness is a general term used to describe light-headedness, vertigo and balance problems.
Vertigo and dizziness are very common problems, affecting approximately 35% of adults over 40 years of age and 80% of adults over 65 years of age. More than 10% of adults experience a long-term problem with dizziness that has a major impact on their quality of life.
Our sense of orientation and balance depends upon good information from the senses that give the brain information about orientation and balance. These senses are vision (eyes), vestibular (inner ear balance organs) and proprioception (nerves in muscles and joints that give information about body position and movement). In addition to normal sensory input from these special senses we also need normal central processing of this incoming information in the brain to feel still and orientated. The central processing of this information occurs predominately in areas of the brain known as the cortex, the cerebellum and a specialised region of the brain known as the vestibular system. The vestibular system is a special part of the brain that is important for controlling movement of the head and eyes and neck, spatial orientation and awareness, balance, posture and spinal alignment. In addition this area also influence the activity of our heart, lungs, stomach and digestive tract (which is why dizziness and vertigo can cause tightness in the chest, shortness of breath, “butterflies in the stomach,” nausea and vomiting).
Vertigo and dizziness are complex problems that can be caused by a number of different underlying disorders including (but not limited to):
- Anxiety and Panic Disorders
- Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
- Labyrinthitis or Vestibular Neuritis
- Meniere’s Disease
- Migraines (not always associated with headaches)
- Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness
- Problems with the neck (cervicogenic dizziness).
At The Perth Brain Centre we focus initially on identifying the underlying problem through a careful and detailed examination. Once we have established the precise cause of the symptoms we will develop a treatment programme directed towards resolving the problem. In some cases (such as in Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo) treatment is very simple and can result in an almost immediate results. In other, more complex cases, treatment may include a number of different therapies including HeartMath HRV Biofeedback (a proven stress-management programme that can be practised at home), Neurofeedback Therapy (targeted brainwave training) and Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy*. We also provide advice about diet and exercise, breathing techniques, relaxation and sleep. In some cases it can also be helpful to consult with our psychologist and we are of course very happy to work alongside other healthcare professionals in the best interest of all our patients.
To discover how we can help you please call to arrange an appointment on (08) 6500 3277 now.
*Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is the accepted “gold standard” treatment for many of the vestibular disorders that can cause dizziness and vertigo.