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Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Will therapy make me dizzy or worsen my symptoms?
A: Sometimes vestibular therapy may cause you to experience a controlled amount of symptoms, but therapy should not worsen your symptoms and it should never take longer than 5-10 minutes for your symptoms to subside. If you are experiencing symptoms that are more severe or last longer than 5 minutes, your exercises may need to be adjusted by your therapist.
It is necessary during certain treatments for vestibular disorders, such as that for BPPV, to provoke your symptoms to test and treat the problem. Typically, the amount of dizziness provoked is similar to what you experience outside of the clinic. Our patients can sometimes feel a little “off” after therapy because we are targeting and stimulating your inner ear, it’s sort of like being sore after exercising.
Q: How does exercise help dizziness?
A: Balance and dizziness affect every part of our patients’ day to day lives, and as such our therapists will work with you on exercises that strengthen everything from inner ear communication with your brain to walking safely and efficiently. Many of our exercises are aimed at giving your brain practice utilizing the inner ear vestibular system properly. We can treat BPPV (vertigo) with maneuvers consisting of a series of head and body movements. As always, we are happy to explain any of our therapies to our patients, so if you don’t know why we’re doing an exercise with you, feel free to ask questions throughout your appointment!
Q: Is PT an alternative to medication?
A: Medication can be an important tool in the acute stages (less than 1 week) of a dizziness-provoking episode. For improvement after acute stages, studies show that specialized exercises and a customized program result in more than 85% improvement whereas medication alone yields less than 50% improvement. Some patients only require exercise to treat their impairments and see improvement in their symptoms. Some vestibular disorders that cause an instability in your inner ear may require both medical management and exercises. We will work with each patient and their other healthcare providers to coordinate and meet your needs.
Q: Can I be treated virtually via telehealth?
A: Yes! We now provide virtual telehealth appointments for residents of Texas currently in the state. We are able to connect through a secure video feed to help further your therapy if you are unable to come in or would rather stay at home. Please note that we are unable to perform diagnostic testing via telehealth. You can read more about our telehealth services here.
Q: Do I need a doctor's referral?
A: Although you can see our clinicians without a referral by law, most insurance companies require a referral to reimburse for our services. If you are private pay, you can schedule a visit without a referral but will need a referral for any visits after 10 days.
Q: How long are my appointments?
A: The initial evaluation is a 1 hour appointment and follow-up appointments are 45 minutes. Telehealth appointments are half an hour. If you need any testing done, it will be additional time based on the type of test being performed.
Q: Will I have the same therapist every time I come in?
A: You will most likely not have the same therapist each visit, we work as a collaborative team. All our therapists are trained in vestibular therapy and consult with one another. A note is written after each therapy session, so the next therapist knows exactly what was done previously.
Q: Someone told me I have ear rocks/crystals, what does that mean?
A: Everyone has microscopic “rocks” or “crystals” in the inner ear that are made up of calcium carbonate. Their job is to communicate the effects of gravity to the brain, such as acceleration and deceleration. Sometimes they become dislodged and fall into a different part of the inner ear, causing a specific type of dizziness called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV. BPPV is experienced as short bouts of vertigo when you change head positions such as lying down or rolling over in bed, looking up to wash your hair in the shower, or bending over to tie your shoes.
If you suspect that you may be suffering from BPPV, our therapists can test you to see if your ear crystals are out of place, and if they are we can treat you with maneuvers that consist of a series of head and body positions.
Q: Where can I find more information about what I'm experiencing?
A: We understand that you are curious about your symptoms or diagnosis, and that the internet is a tempting resource for information. There is a lot of good information out there, but there is a lot of misleading, alarming, or false information too! If you’d like more information on your vestibular diagnosis, we recommend this list of resources for accurate information.
Q: Should I do my home exercises with or without shoes?
A: You can do your exercises with or without shoes. Keep in mind that if you usually wear shoes throughout your day, practicing in shoes is more functional. If you prefer to practice in bare feet, that’s ok, too. We do recommend that if you wear shoes make sure that they are sturdy with flat soles (no heels!).