Have you ever felt a little woozy after getting off an amusement ride at the local fair? Vertigo is a similar sensation without the carnival ride prior to the beginning of the symptoms. Vertigo and dizziness can result in feeling unbalanced in your everyday life.
Which brings up a very important question – how does my body maintain balance?
There are three systems working together in your body to keep you feeling balanced:
Your EYES work to keep you visually oriented to upright and provide feedback about your position while doing tasks.
PROPRIOCEPTION refers to "position sensors" which are located throughout your body providing information to your brain about your position through touch and pressure.
Your VESTIBULAR SYSTEM provides information to your brain about head position and movement. These movements can be in a variety of directions; for example, horizontal and vertical movement (when you’re on a moving walkway at the airport or riding in an elevator) as well as head movement (shaking head "no", nodding head "yes", or tipping your ear toward your shoulder).
Your brain receives the input from these three systems and processes the information to decide how to make your body work to keep your balance. Through the interaction of these systems (eyes, proprioceptors and vestibular system), you are able to maintain your balance in a variety of situations and tasks.
When you have vertigo, a problem arises in your vestibular system which sends an erroneous message to your brain saying, "React! We’re moving!" when, in fact, you are not moving at all. A physical therapist who is specially trained in vestibular rehabilitation can assist you in designing exercises and activities to eliminate this erroneous message being sent.
If you are having dizziness, vertigo, imbalance or just feeling "off" with your balance, talk to your doctor and ask to go to physical therapy where a specialist can help you return to your normal daily activities.