Taking a good history on a client with dizziness requires focused attention to the verbal and non-verbal communication provided by the client and family members. I will sometimes have individuals describe dizziness as lightheaded, but use a circular motion with their hands at the same time. In this case, it is interesting to point out these two conflicting reports from the same individual. Once questioned, sometimes the individual will say they experience both spinning and lightheadedness.
Dizziness can be confusing to individuals so it is easy for individuals to get off track and lose focus during the subjective portion of the exam. Anxiety provoked symptoms and comments are not uncommon. Therefore, I warn my clients that I may need to interrupt them if I need more information about facts that they are providing. Sometimes, the questions I ask can be difficult to answer and sometimes clients may change their minds in regard to answers they have already provided. I have noticed tension build in individuals as they try to figure out what it is that they actually feel.
Sometimes I feel like I am interrogating individuals in regard to their problem. Understandably, this is necessary because of the complexity of dizziness as a problem. I am now up to 146 possible words/descriptions that people have provided to me when I ask them what dizzy means.