This is one of my favorite patient stories... Last year we evaluated a patient with a 20 year history of vertigo that was triggered every time she rose from bed. Like many of our patients she visited multiple physicians to help with her dizziness. Unfortunately, she was prescribed Meclizine to manage her symptoms and no practitioner was able to give her a clear diagnosis for her symptoms. They told her medication was the answer. We knew we could do something to help this patient.... To diagnose the patient, we performed a thorough vestibular examination to determine the root cause of the patient's symptoms. We conducted various tests to rule in and out central, peripheral, and positional dizziness. Positional testing revealed a right upbeating torsional nystagmus that fatigued in less than 30 seconds. We were able to diagnose the patient with right posterior canalithiasis. For the first time the patient was given an answer to what was causing her vertigo! Based on the patient's diagnosis we were able to treat her using a canalith re-positioning maneuver. After two sessions the patient had a full resolution of her vertigo and was discharged from our clinic. Have you had a similar experience treating patients with vestibular disorders? Our patients commonly see multiple physicians and come away with little education and no answers. Most of the patients we see are fearful of moving and highly disabled due to poor management of their condition. As physical therapists with vestibular rehab training, we have a great opportunity to provide those with dizziness with proper education and accurate diagnoses. We can be the first line for treatment of a highly disabling condition. What are some of your favorite patient stories? Please comment below and share your most memorable patient stories too! I would love to hear them. It is awesome to read about the impact we can make as PTs.
Best, Steven Tijerina, PT, DPT EvidenceCEU Course Liaison/ Lab Instructor