Vertigo: Thinking About It Makes My Head Spin! Vestibular Physical Therapy: What to Expect

Vertigo: Thinking About It Makes My Head Spin! Vestibular Physical Therapy: What to Expect

Discover the role of physical therapy in treating vertigo and learn what to expect during treatment.

Our treatment options include vestibular rehabilitation, gaze stabilization, and balance training.

Dizzy spells and that unsettling feeling of the world spinning around you? It might be vertigo, but there’s good news – physical therapy can be your saving grace. Let’s dive into how vestibular physical therapy can turn your world right-side up again.

Vertigo can really throw you for a loop, but physical therapy offers a solid ground to regain your balance. In this blog, we’ll unpack what vertigo is, how physical therapists can treat it, and what to expect from vestibular physical therapy. From understanding the difference between dizziness and vertigo to exploring specialized exercises, we’ve got you covered.

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is a specific kind of dizziness that creates the false sensation that you or your surroundings are spinning or moving. It’s more than just feeling dizzy; it’s a distinct sensation like the room is spinning. This condition is usually provoked by benign movements like rolling over in bed, looking up, looking left and right to cross the street. Imagine trying to change a lightbulb and it suddenly feels like you’re on a roller coaster. It can be quite disorienting and often affects balance and movement.

There are several types of vertigo. They all present similarly, dizzy / spinning sensation, nausea, vomiting, balance problems, nystagmus (rapid involuntary eye movement). But identifying the source of your vertigo is the key to treating it. For instance, the Epley maneuver is often used to treat Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) by moving calcium deposits out of the canal into an inner ear chamber so they can be absorbed by the body.

Role of Physical Therapy

Physical therapy is vital in managing and treating symptoms of dizziness and vertigo. First, you will meet with a licensed Doctor of Physical Therapy for a comprehensive exam. The therapist will identify the source of the problem and put together a specific treatment plan based on your unique needs and condition.. Below are the methods physical therapy utilizes to achieve these objectives:

Vestibular Rehab: This specialized branch of physical therapy is geared towards treating inner ear disorders, which are often at the heart of vertigo issues. It involves a set of exercises aimed at retraining the vestibular system to better manage and compensate for balance discrepancies, thus diminishing the symptoms of vertigo.

Gaze Stabilization Exercises: These exercises are centered on improving the control and coordination of eye movements, crucial in maintaining equilibrium. Regular practice of these exercises can help lessen dizziness that is provoked by movements of the head.

Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers: Techniques like the Epley maneuver fall under this category. They are effective in treating benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), a condition triggered by the displacement of small calcium particles in the inner ear, causing abrupt vertigo episodes. Physical therapists employ precise maneuvers involving the head and body to relocate these particles to their original position, thereby easing the symptoms.

Muscle Strengthening and Balance Exercises: Dizziness can also stem from weakened muscles that are essential for balance. Physical therapists create exercise routines aimed at fortifying these muscles, thus enhancing overall stability, diminishing the likelihood of falls, and improving functionality in daily tasks.

Proprioceptive Training: Proprioception, or the body’s ability to perceive its own position in space, is another focus of physical therapy. Through specific exercises, patients can improve their proprioceptive abilities, leading to better movement control and a reduction in sensations of instability.


Physical therapy has demonstrated remarkable success in treating dizziness and vertigo, bringing enduring relief and enhancing the lives of those affected. By identifying the root of the issue and tailoring treatment to individual needs, physical therapists are vital to restoring your balance and movement. Should you or someone close to you be experiencing dizziness or vertigo, consider consulting a skilled physical therapist. Take the first step on your path to improved health and wellness. Reach out and schedule a physical therapy session today.

Would you like to learn more about how PT & SR can help with your vertigo?

Our dedicated team at Physical Therapy & Sports Rehabilitation is here to guide you every step of the way.

Book your appointment now and begin your journey to better health!