Spinning in Circles

Imagine you’re out to dinner at your favorite restaurant. You stand up from the table and everything around you begins to spin. You try to walk and it feels like you’re being pushed into a crowd of people. The noises around you become deafening. Someone has to catch you before you fall to the ground.

Although it would only last a few minutes, over the past three years, “episodes” like this had become the norm for Ruth Thornton of Watervliet. Read more...

The body relies on the inner ear in order to keep its balance. Within the ear are many tiny parts – on of which contains calcium crystals. In some people, the crystals can move out of place. When this happens, the system no longer works as it should and the inner ear fails to sense head and body position and motion.

What causes Vertigo?

Causes include injury to your head or neck. Other problems with the vestibular system may cause vertigo. In many people, the cause of vertigo is not known.

Symptoms of Vertigo

You many have repeated feelings of spinning (vertigo). The vertigo usually lasts less than 1 minute. Some movements, such as rolling over in bed, can bring on vertigo.

Diagnosing Vertigo

Your primary health care provider may diagnose and treat your vertigo. Or you may see an ear, nose, and throat doctor (otolaryngologist). In some cases, you may see a nervous system doctor (neurologist).

The health care provider will ask about your symptoms and your medical history. He or she will examine you. You may have hearing and balance tests. As part of the exam, your health care provider may have you move your head and body in certain ways. If you have vertigo, the movements can bring on vertigo. Your provider will also look for abnormal movements of your eyes. You may have other tests to check your vestibular or nervous systems.

Treatment for Vertigo

Your health care provider may try to move the calcium crystals. This is done by having you move your head and neck in certain ways. This treatment is safe and often works well. You may also be told to do these movements at home. You may still have vertigo for a few weeks. Your health care provider will recheck your symptoms, usually in about a month. Special physical therapy may also be part of treatment. In rare cases surgery may be needed for vertigo that does not go away.

To learn more, contact your nearest Lakeland Rehabilitation Services location:

Coloma: (269) 468-4318
Berrien Springs: (269) 471-7621
Buchanan: (269) 684-1944
Niles: (269) 683-6800
St. Joseph: (269) 428-2799

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