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Giddy. My world is spinning!

Giddiness is one of the most common disorders that can have an adverse effect on function and quality of life. Giddiness can affect between 15-20% of the general population annually and appears to increase with increasing age 1. There are many possible reasons for giddiness, with vestibular disorders and cervical disorders being some of the more common factors that can be managed with physiotherapy.

Vestibular system:

The vestibular system refers to the inner ear apparatus of the body, which plays an important role in maintaining balance in the body.

A disorder of the vestibular system can often result in attacks of giddiness or vertigo, as well as imbalance. Some of the more common vestibular disorders are benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular neuritis.

Some of the causes of dizziness:

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV):

BPPV occurs when calcium carbonate crystals become dislodged in the inner ear.

These free-floating crystals are affected by changes in head position, often triggering a spinning sensation or vertigo during such movements.

Vestibular neuritis:

This condition refers to inflammation of the vestibular nerve, one of the nerves in the ear that affects balance and equilibrium in the body.

Vertigo and loss of balance are some of the common symptoms associated with this disorder.

Cervical or neck disorders:

The neck plays an important role in maintaining the equilibrium and balance of the body, as there are many nerves and receptors in the neck that help detect the head and body’s orientation in space. A disruption in the function of these receptors in the neck can often have an adverse effect on the body’s sense of equilibrium, with giddiness being one of the common symptoms.

Physiotherapy management

Physiotherapy management of giddiness will first consist of a thorough assessment to determine the cause of the giddiness. Once the cause of the giddiness has been determined, appropriate management will be prescribed, and may consist of education and lifestyle modification, manual therapy, and exercise therapy. Appropriate physiotherapy assessment and management has been shown to be effective in managing symptoms of giddiness and improving balance.


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