Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health
Departments Health Links Calendar Archived Issues Media Kit Contact Us
  Senior Care Senior Living Camps & Activities for Special Needs Children Ask the Expert  

Living with Dizziness and Balance Disorders

By Dana P. Shaffer, DPT

Many people suffer with dizziness at least once in their lifetime. It is the number one reason for someone older than 65 years to see the doctor. Trying to live with dizziness can deeply affect a person’s ability to function, social relationships, ability to work and quality of life. When balance is affected, risk for falls increases; thus increasing the chances of other injuries such as fractures. No one should have to live with dizziness, and it is not a “normal” part of aging. Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation can help to manage and very often stop the symptoms completely.
Dizziness and balance disorders can lead to various symptoms. They include; vertigo, lightheadedness, motion sickness, oscillopsia (jumping of vision), postural instability, falls or near falls, and dysequilibrium. These disorders also can cause severe nausea and vomiting. Certain problems are also related to hearing loss and/or pain and fullness in the ear.
The cause of these symptoms can stem from a variety of causes. The most common is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. This causes vertigo when a person changes position such as bending over, lying down, rolling in bed and looking up. Medication may help to decrease the severity of symptoms but will not cure this problem. Particle repositioning is a procedure that can be done by a trained professional to correct the problem and stop the symptoms.
Other causes of vertigo include peripheral disorders such as; neuritis (inflammation of the nerve), unilateral or bilateral hypofunction, Meniere’s Disease and Acoustic Neuroma. Central disorders include mild traumatic brain injury or post-concussion syndrome, stroke, Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, etc. There can also be other causes such as disuse dysequilibrium, medication side effects, anxiety, migraine and cervicogenic dizziness.
It is important to discover the cause of the vertigo, dizziness and/or balance trouble so that appropriate treatment can be administered. A trained vestibular and balance physical therapist can perform an evaluation and work closely with your medical doctor to discover the cause of the symptoms and administer the appropriate treatment. With specific therapy and exercises people can get back to full function.

Dana P. Shaffer is Director of Vestibular and Balance Rehab at Orthopedic & Sports Physical Therapy Associates, Inc. (OSPTA). For more information, call (412) 655-4252 or visit www.osptainc.com

Return to Top

Westmoreland County Special Edition Download a PDF version Advertise Subscribe for FREE
Subscribe to GTGH




Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf (WPSD)

Scott and Christie

CMS Housing – Apartments


Legacy Medical Centers

WR Cameron Wellness Center

Medicare Specialists of Pittsburgh

Blind and Rehabilitation Services of Pittsburgh

Western Pennsylvania School for Blind Children

New Story

East End Food Coop

Reserve This Space | Call 412-835-5796 or email goodhealthmag@aol.com

Western Pennsylvania Guide to Good Health. All rights reserved.

Send email to goodhealthmag@aol.com