You shouldn't have to:
Leave your house and drive or pay for a ride (ambulance rides may not be covered by insurance) when you're dizzy
Have to figure out on your own who to ask for help from and where to get it
Wait long periods of time to schedule an appointment for something that doesn't always last until the time you're in the doctor's office
Be passed around from one provider to another without any answers of relief
We're here to help you navigate the healthcare system when you're feeling dizzy, give you back control over your experience, personalize a unique diagnosis and treatment plan, and get back to living your life without limitations...
And we can start the whole process without you ever having to sit in crowded waiting rooms, commute while you're having symptoms, convince anyone that your symptoms are real, or ever even leave the comfort and safety of your own home!
Welcome! Thanks for stopping by. We hope this page gives you the answers you're looking for or at least sets you on the path to get the RIGHT help FAST.
The first thing you need to know when dealing with dizziness and related symptoms (vertigo, lightheadedness, unsteadiness, seeing stars, etc.) is that they can be caused by any one of multiple potential body systems, and sometimes multiple systems at the same time. Because of this, it's important to seek help in understanding these issues from a highly trained, experienced professional. Why? Because other people might be experiencing similar symptoms or have a similar medical history, but ultimately you might have a completely different cause of your symptoms or unique personal needs on your path to finding solutions. By visiting this page, you've already taken that important first step!
Next, the absolute best way to enter the healthcare system for a dizziness episode (outside of those related to stroke) is to align with a specialized generalist who can guide you through the process and advocate on your behalf throughout.
Here at The Health Collaborator, we designed our practice model to be able to accommodate these criteria. Through our program, you'll immediately have access to Dr. Fothergill, who is a doctor of physical therapy with multiple specialties in vestibular rehab, orthopedic rehab, cardiovascular and pulmonary rehab, and more. This means you'll receive a comprehensive first exam by a specialist in all the systems that may be related to your symptoms...and then, most likely, be treated by the same specialist This is unique in that you don't need a referral to access our specialists, nor will you have to bounce around to different subspecialists to find all the various pieces of the puzzle. In the less frequent cases where you'd need a subspecialist, you will also already have an advocate who has a working understanding of all of your body systems and what you actually want to gain from your healthcare experience.
Ready to take the next step toward finding answers and solutions for your dizziness? Click below to ask a specific question or ask us how you can schedule a FREE personalized session about recognizing the signs and symptoms of stroke versus easily treatable dizziness!
SO WHAT CAUSES MY SYMPTOMS?
Age related changes to the body (no, you're not dizzy because you're getting older, but aging may influence the systems that cause these symptoms...and all CAN be treated! Age is not an excuse for a medical professional to not have a clear diagnosis)
Medication side effects
11. Inner ear fluid consistency changes
12. Inner ear or nerve infection
14. Positional Changes
15. Vision Changes
6. Rapid Blood Pressure changes
7. Head injury--> Jarred loose inner ear crystals
8. Head hit with neck injury--> Whiplash to the upper neck, which impacts the nerves in the neck related to balance
9. Head injury--> Damaged nerves or small vessels that impact that visual or vestibular systems
10. Inner ear crystals spontaneously come loose
This list is NOT comprehensive. We list out a lot of potential causes to illustrate how complicated these cases can be and why it's important to get to the RIGHT specialist first. Some of the causes above can be treated by an ENT, some by a neurologist, some by a PCP, some by an Allergist, some by an Orthopedist. But each of those subspecialists does not treat the other issues, so if they got it wrong or don't have experience with various body systems in the context of dizziness, you may find yourself experiencing unsuccessful treatments and no clear answers.
I'm doing the exercises and the Epley maneuver on myself at home. Why isn't it working? Is something else wrong?
Maybe you've already been to a few doctors, gotten a few answers, been prescribed some medications or exercises. Maybe you even saw a Physical Therapist (in a large open gym or on telehealth? Did they specialize in vestibular diagnosis and rehab or are they a muscles & bones PT? BIG difference!).
But what if they don't work?
Well, unfortunately, despite the good intentions of many public education campaigns, it's really NOT that easy to treat yourself for dizziness.
Many outlets propose that you can learn the Epley maneuver to perform on yourself. It may be possible, but the reality is that the Epley maneuver only works if you can endure significant symptoms for extended periods of time, while remaining perfectly still with your eyes open, and remembering the exact movements involved.
Most stories we hear of people trying this at home on their own sounds something like "I tried it and it made my symptoms worse, so I stopped" or "I did it like I saw on the video and it didn't work" (when in fact they didn't perform the maneuver properly).
And if you start trying the Epley before seeing a specialist, you may be making your symptoms worse, since you can't assess yourself during the maneuver and read eye movements to diagnose the real problem.
As far as medications go, if you end up at a subspecialist who primarily deals with drug and surgical treatments first, the real root of your problems may slip through the cracks and you may end up at the last resort early on in your process.
But that doesn't mean there aren't ways to get great treatment while staying at home!
Ready to take the next step toward finding answers and solutions for your dizziness? Click below to ask a specific question or ask us how you can schedule a FREE fit interview!
Ok, so what can I do by myself at home then?
1. Download Dr. Fothergill's FREE eBook A Beginner's Guide to Vertigo and Dizziness for guided worksheets and step-by-step actions
2. Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water.
3. Review your medical history and any of the most recent medical recommendations you received after your doctors' visits. Don't forget, your heart may be involved in your dizziness, so changing to a dietician-recommended meal plan may help with symptoms
4. Stay active. Even a couple short walks throughout the day can help. If you're too symptomatic, movements in bed like leg lifts, ankle pumps, bridges, and more can be useful in improving cardiovascular circulation and good blood flow and oxygenation to the brain.
5. Plan ahead. If your symptoms correlate consistently with menstrual cycles, a certain position change, activities, times of year, try to adjust your schedule or prepare to have a loved one with you . If you prepare for these events, maybe do a short set of deep meditative breathing, you may be able to reduce the fear and anxiety that might come along with symptoms, and thus decrease intensity or duration (not guaranteed in all cases, but mindfulness and calming exercises could put you in a good position
Why do you make it sound so easy?
Are you asking this question while reading this page? I don't blame you. It seems like if it were this easy, you'd already have your answers and solutions.
The truth is, the education, training, and practice that goes into developing the skills necessary to provide excellent services for people experiencing dizziness are not easy.
Nor is developing a business model that can be sustainable and still help people.
Nor is finding a great provider if you don't have any training or support. Why would you be expected to know that a neurologist, a neuro-ophthalmologist, and a neurological physical therapist are actually different specialists? Why would you be expected to know that recently, within the past decade, Physical Therapists education requirements were increased to the doctoral level and Vestibular PTs became the primary first line provider of choice for dizziness and related symptoms?
You wouldn't....or shouldn't.
So that's why we're laying all this information out there. It IS hard to have dizziness symptoms and find help for them...if you go it alone.
With this information and guidance from our expert team, you won't have to do the heavy lifting.
Watch this video to learn more about the Vestibular system
Watch this video to learn more about how your heart can be related to your dizziness
Watch this video to learn more about how your neck can be related to your dizziness
Watch this video to learn more about how we diagnose complicated cases (the ones for which nobody seems to have an answer)