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Braintree physical therapist helps vertigo patients

Posted by Kerrie Denner

Kathy Joy, a physical therapist who has worked at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital since 1988, specializes in treating patients who suffer from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), one of the most common forms of vertigo.

By Robert Aicardi 

Kathy Joy, a physical therapist who has worked at Braintree Rehabilitation Hospital since 1988, specializes in treating patients who suffer from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), one of the most common forms of vertigo.

Although it is called “benign,” the condition involves more than a simple case of dizziness, since it makes surroundings seemingly spin out of control, leading to balance problems.

Classified as a vestibular disorder, BPPV is caused by small calcium carbonate crystals that become dislodged in the inner ear and stimulate nerves to send false signals to the brain.

“Under normal circumstances, these crystals play a major role in helping us detect gravity,” Joy said. “Once they become dislodged, they tend to disperse through the inner ear canals with positional changes of the head.”

The typical BPPV scenario is that a person experiences symptoms of vertigo upon awakening and trying to get out of bed or rolling over in bed. This action of changing position provokes the movement of the crystals, which causes the person to endure spinning vertigo.

“The actual spinning usually lasts only 10 to 20 seconds, but a person can experience severe effects, including nausea,” Joy said.

Since 1994, Joy has conducted vestibular physical therapy. The treatment of choice consists of maneuvers that include the therapist positioning the patient to determine which inner ear canal or canals are involved before gently moving the head and neck through a series of positions to guide the crystals out of the canal and back to where they won't provoke spinning.

The patient is then instructed to follow a set of home guidelines for approximately 48 hours to reinforce that the crystals will stay in place.

“Often in a case of uncomplicated BPPV, one or two treatments do the trick,” Joy said.

Source: Braintree Forum Wicked Local

url: http://braintree.wickedlocal.com/article/20140219/NEWS/140215526

Accessed 2/21/2014

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