Monday, May 30, 2011

"Go Green" when dizzy!

No, I don't mean get sick when you are dizzy.  What I mean is learn to be energy efficient when you are dizzy.  Only use the muscles you absolutely have to use when you are dizzy.  Since dizziness causes the unconscious to become conscious, we often try to take voluntary control over involuntary balance needs.  This causes us to tense way too much.  When we are more tense than we need to be, we use more energy than necessary...It's like leaving the lights on upstairs when you are spending your time downstairs.  So, it is important to relax any joint/muscle you are not using so that you are not exhausted by the end of the day.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why should I exercise?

While practicing Physical Therapy in Canton, Ohio, I have had the opportunity to work primarily with clients who have dizziness and balance disorders.  One special type of therapy that I have used with this population is Vestibular Rehabilitation.  Many individuals who benefit from Vestibular Rehabilitation also have a problem with tension and stiffness.  In fact, I have learned that tension and stiffness are often a primary problem for individuals who had dizziness and balance disorders.  Because I have been immersed into this type of population, I have become more focused on the impact of tension and stress on our ability to move and our overall health.

The normal reaction when we are stressed is to want to fight or run away.  Any perceived threat causes our bodies to tense up.  Many of us have issues that cause stress that we carry with us all day long.  Then, we go and try to get a good hard intense workout it.  Sometimes our workouts stress us out because we didn't perform the way we had hoped or we didn't make as much progress as we had planned on making.  Even worse, sometimes our workouts stress us out because we really didn't want to be doing it in the first place! 

What if we were to change the reason we exercise?  What if our primary reason for exercise became to learn how to relax when we move?  What if we "went green" or tried to use our own physical energy more wisely during the day?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Why is it good to be dizzy?

Dizziness often causes the unconscious to become conscious.  In other words, things that occur in our bodies that do not require our attention, suddenly are brought to our attention.  We never thought about how we felt when we moved before, but with the presence of dizziness, we think about it all the time.  Reflexes that allowed us to move (without thought) are now being drowned out by our need for control. 

Green light dizziness is benign dizziness that we must feel in order for it to go away.  As long as an individual has been diagnosed and has been told "it's good to be dizzy" then it truly is good to be dizzy.  There are psychological and physical reasons why it is "good to be dizzy."  When we welcome "green light" dizziness into our lives, we decrease it's relevance in our lives.  Our body gets the stimulation it needs to heal and our sense of movement can then return to the reflexive/unconscius level. 

(There are rules that should be followed when it is good to be dizzy.  Do not practice these concepts without the guidance of a medical professional who has experience working with green light dizziness.)

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

What can I do to battle my dizziness mentally?

I have many clients who battle anxiety and depression with dizziness.  I once heard it said that we are born with two innate fears: loud noises and fear of falling.  I don't have a source to confirm this information, but I find it interesting that both fears have to do with the inner ear.

I recently had a client, who is hypersensitive to sensory input (touch, sound, images/light and movement) ask what she could do to battle her dizziness mentally.  I was so happy she asked.  Without mental and spiritual training it is very difficult to successfully battle dizziness. 

In short, because I knew the cause of her dizziness, I was able to instruct her that she first needed to transform her way of thinking about her dizziness.  She needed to welcome the dizziness instead of try to hide from it.  She needed to convince herself that it was good to be dizzy.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Dizziness and phrases of anticipation: What might they mean?

"What do you mean by dizzy?"  To answer this question, I have often heard clients use phrases and words like the following: 

"I'm about to become dizzy"
"Am I going to get it?"
"I could become dizzy"
"It’s going to come on" (but doesn’t)
"Like, ok, maybe"
"I might get dizzy"
"I may become dizzy"

Clients who make these statements have a sense that something is about to happen in relation to their dizziness, but then they do not actually experience their familiar sense of dizziness.  Why do clients have these feelings of anticipation?  I hypothesize that it could be any of the following reasons:
       ·       Problem is in remission, but brain doesn’t know it (need compensation)
·       Problem present, but:
o   You are in the early stages of the problem returning
o   You are in the late stages of the problem going away
o   You are having the same problem as before, but not as severe
·       Avoidance; not moving enough to stimulate the problem

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Bilateral BPPV

Is traditionally considered uncommon.  Unless a person had a head injury, I would typically consider bilateral BPPV highly unlikely.  I have noticed that sometimes left sided posterior canal canalithiasis can mimic a less intense form of right sided posterior canal canalithiasis by causing right torsional upbeating nystagmus in the right Dix-Hallpike position.  Lately, however, I have had a few clients (within one week) who had intense torsional, upbeating nystagmus in the same direction of the Dix-Hallpike maneuver on both sides.  This nystagmus was typical BPPV type nystagmus (crescendo/fatigue/symptomatic).  These findings made me think of the following question: Is bilateral BPPV really uncommon?

If there is a vascular or hormonal cause of BPPV, one could hypothesize that if the inner ear is not getting the nutrients it needs to be healthy on one side, why couldn't it experience a similar state on the opposite side.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Can BPPV Be Prevented?

The answer to this question depends upon the cause.  If BPPV has a vascular cause, then improving circulation to the vestibular system may prevent future spells.  If the cause of BPPV is from Migraines or Thyroid issues, then preventing Migraines and regulating Thyroid levels may prevent BPPV.  BPPV caused by head injuries would have been prevented had the head injury not occurred.  Of course, I am sure the individual who hit their head did not have a choice about the matter.

What if one is not able to improve the underlying cause of BPPV?  Is there a chance that completing repositioning maneuvers on a regular basis may help prevent the problem from becoming symptomatic?  One study completed suggests no.  However,  I would like to suggest that the following types of recurring BPPV may be prevented...