What Causes Vestibular Issues? - Balance Chicago Physical Therapy

What Causes Vestibular Issues?

women with vestibular issues

Part of living in Chicago is dealing with extreme weather changes and winds created by fluctuations in barometric pressure. There’s always a few days a year where you walk outside in a t-shirt and return home wishing you had a winter jacket. In 2016, Chicago recorded a 17 degree temperature drop in only 10 minutes! The extreme weather may catch us off guard, but it’s been a trend for over a hundred years.

Who is affected by Vestibular issues?

While these weather changes can be a sign of spring, they can also trigger dizziness and vertigo. Vestibular disorders are often called invisible illnesses. They usually go undiagnosed and untreated because the patient is not visibly struggling. However, these disorders are more common than you may think. According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders:

  • 4% (8 million) of American adults report a chronic problem with balance.
  • 1.1% (2.4 million) report a chronic problem with dizziness alone. 
  • 80% percent of people will have experienced dizziness at some point in their lifetime.

Chances are, you or someone you know is struggling with balance or dizziness right now. Thankfully, there are effective treatments, once we find the root of your problem. Dr. Michele Kehrer, PT, DPT founded Balance Chicago to correctly evaluate and treat dizziness. We use various tests and specialized equipment to determine the exact cause of your dizziness, which allows us to treat you more effectively. It is essential to know the true cause of the dizziness you are experiencing so that you can get back to the things you love more quickly.

What Causes BPPV?

What do Chicago weather fluctuations and dizziness have to do with one another? Well, barometric pressure changes are one of the triggers for a type of dizziness called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is the most common vestibular disorder and accounts for approximately 50% of dizziness in older adults.

The most common cause of dizziness is BPPV, which is an intense spinning sensation with positional changes. BPPV can occur spontaneously, but factors that contribute to its occurrence include:

  • dehydration
  • inflammation (allergies, sinus infection, or a cold)
  • hitting your head/ concussions 
  • changes in barometric pressure
  • vitamin/mineral imbalances



What is vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis?

Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis occurs when a virus or bacteria makes its way into your inner ear. The intruder sits on the nerve that connects your inner ear to your brain. This issue impairs communication and creates a sense of spinning. Unfortunately, this sensation can last anywhere from a day to up to a week.

Definitions of Various Vestibular Issues:

Migraine-related dizziness is a newer diagnosis given when people have episodic dizziness that appears to be related to migraines or triggers that are commonly associated with migraines. 

Meniere’s Disease- an extremely rare, progressive condition that causes dizziness and hearing loss due to abnormalities in the fluid in the inner ear. 

Concussions- cause a variety of symptoms but up to 80% of people report dizziness in their first few days following their head injury.

Cervicogenic dizziness- is common following whiplash injuries such as those sustained when a person is rear-ended.

What Can Help Cure Vestibular Disorders?

Have you or someone you know developed dizziness and instantly started searching the web for answers? Maybe a friend who has experienced dizziness has kindly suggested you try an Epley maneuver to cure your dizziness (because it worked wonders for their second cousin). Unfortunately, not all dizziness can be solved with an Epley maneuver because not all dizziness is caused by the same thing. This is why it is essential to go to a qualified healthcare professional to diagnose the cause of your dizziness.

We Can Help.

Our experts at Balance Chicago would love to help you find the root cause of your dizziness so you can get back to your life as quickly as possible. We don’t want you to end up being one of 2.4 million Americans with a chronic vestibular issue. 

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