How to fix that dizzy feeling
Is the room suddenly spinning and you don’t know why? And no, it’s not thanks to that big night on the weekend or boot camp this morning. Chances are it’s vertigo – a feeling that either you or the environment around you is moving. It’s a specific type of dizziness that can wreak havoc on your everyday life and make standing up feel like the earth is spinning out of control. We chatted to Chieu Phan, clinical director at CPPHYSIO, APA Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapist, as well as Vestibular Physiotherapist (phew, that’s a title!), on the ins and outs of vertigo.
What are the causes of vertigo?
“The most common cause of vertigo is an imbalance in the vestibular system, the balance system in your inner ears,” says Chieu. “It’s responsible for coordinating your head and eye movements so you see things clearly, while also providing information to your body that helps you maintain your balance.”
Is it more prevalent in women?
Chieu says, “the lifetime prevalence of vertigo is between 3-10% of the general population, and evidence shows that this increases with age and affects women two to three times more than men.” Sorry ladies, you’re gonna have to watch out for this one! If you struggle with motion sickness or suffer from migraines often, you could also be more susceptible.
What are the symptoms?
“The most common symptoms are dizziness and feeling off balance, as well as feeling nauseous, lightheaded or finding it difficult to focus,” says Chieu. You might feel like the world is pulling your body in one direction, and your head in the other, while also finding it difficult to stand up straight – ugh!
Sometimes, specific activities such as flying can aggravate it, however vertigo usually happens for no particular reason other than an imbalance. It might feel like you’ve had a few too many glasses of chardy, #treatyoself right? But it’s no treat without that fun gals’ night to justify the feeling.
To alleviate vertigo, talk to your doctor about some exercises to help ease the symptoms. “Early and accurate diagnosis will ensure effective treatment and allow you to return to your training as quickly as possible,” says Chieu. “Given the complexity of vertigo and dizziness, it is best your consult your doctor or a vestibular physiotherapist for further advice.”
If you think vertigo could be holding you back from your daily beach run or boot camp, get it checked by a pro. Stat.