Conditions & Treatments
Emory's Dizziness and Balance Center sees patients who experience dizziness, vertigo, visual-vestibular problems, or imbalance as the result of vestibular (or inner ear), head injury, stroke, or other central nervous system impairment, aging, or other at-risk-to-fall problems.
Dizziness is a general term that includes a number of symptoms including:
- Imbalance and falls
- Motion sickness
- Rocking or swaying
Diagnosing Dizziness & Balance Conditions
Diagnosing dizziness and balance conditions and disorders involve a thorough patient evaluation. Evaluation may include diagnostic assessment using the ENG (or caloric), rotary chair, otolith tests, EquiTest (or posturography).
Dizziness is caused by a number of different disorders.
- The most common cause of vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is due to calcium debris in the inner ear, which can be treated with the canalith-repositioning maneuver, which takes just a few minutes to perform. Patients with dizziness from this disorder can be diagnosed by the clinical exam and require no sophisticated testing.
- The most common cause of chronic imbalance or disequilibrium is probably multi-factorial involving mild sensory loss, decreased muscle strength and other medical problems such as arthritis. This can be diagnosed by a neurological examination and is best treated through a physical therapy program of balance, strengthening and endurance exercises.
- There are several other causes for dizziness. For this reason, it is sometimes necessary for a patient to undergo a detailed examination and specific tests before the diagnosis can be made or treatment can be initiated.
Dizziness & Balance Treatments
Individualized dizziness and balance treatment aims at treating both balance and functional impairments. In most cases, the length of the dizziness and balance treatment program includes a 1-hour evaluation including tests. Some may require physical therapy.
About the Emory Dizziness & Balance Center
Research at the Dizziness and Balance Center is directed at developing better methods of identifying vestibular disorders and at improving treatment of those patients. Clinical research in these problems is based at the Center for Rehabilitation. Current projects include: Determining the effectiveness of physical therapy for patients with unilateral and bilateral vestibular loss; early identification of vestibular loss in patients that are receiving ototoxic medications; development of a new method for assessing visual acuity during head movement in patients with vestibular loss; decreasing the risk for falls in patients with balance problems, and development of new methods of diagnosing vestibular deficits.
Rehabilitation at Emory utilizes a patient-family centered care approach to provide care to all of our patients. We utilize the latest advances to treat conditions associated with rehabilitative care and our staff is advancing the possibilities for treatment options for the future.
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