Physical Therapy Made Me Barf!
If someone ever tells you that their physical therapist made them throw up, one of two assumptions can be made – 1) their therapist is probably a little aggressive with their exercises, or 2) the patient probably has positional vertigo.
So what is positional vertigo, and why would some people throw up from it? Positional vertigo is actually short for “Benign Paroxymal Positional Vertigo“, or BPPV. BPPV occurs when small crystals in our ear that help maintain our balance get stuck in the wrong spot- it’s often described to patients as having “loose crystals in your ear”. Patients who have vertigo complain of a sensation that the room is spinning, typically when they lay on their back or roll in bed (perhaps some who have indulged in an extra adult beverage or two can relate to this feeling). Sometimes the feelings are intense enough that people actually vomit from this dizziness. As the sudden onset of room-spinning dizziness and vomiting can be quite discontenting to patients, it’s important to remember that the B in BPPV stands for benign, meaning this disorder typically has few long-term consequences.
One thing I hear from patients who experience BPPV is that they don’t have any idea how to get rid of it. Typically, they see their primary care physician to rule out any red flags – which is perfectly fine. After red flags have been ruled out, however, many people are unaware that physical therapists are able to treat and readily eliminate BPPV in just a few days. In fact, studies show that about 90% of patients are completely symptom free after 1-3 sessions! OSI has several vestibular therapists in a variety of locations, so if you or a friend have experienced that “room-spinning” feeling upon lying down, a trip or two to your local PT can help resolve these symptoms.
Although BPPV is the most common vestibular disorder seen in PT, it certainly is not the only one. Other common causes of dizziness include unilateral vestibular hypofunction, Meniere’s disease, migraine, cervical whiplash, and post-concussion syndrome. So if you’re dizzy and don’t know where to turn, determine if there is a PT in your area that might be able to help you out! Reach out if you’d like some help with your dizziness firstname.lastname@example.org