Health Blog

Balance and Dizziness – One Person’s Story

Balance and Dizziness

Here’s another patient who wrote to us about her journey battling balance issues, dizziness, and vertigo….

“There are probably a million ways an individual arrives at a point where they are experiencing problems with balance or dizziness. There are also a host of physical issues that give rise to problems with this bodily function. There are even different types of balance and dizziness issues, such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and I’ve experienced most of them, I think.

My goal in writing this is not to make a diagnosis regarding an individual’s condition, but to share my experience in the hope that perhaps a tip here or there may offer some hope for someone else. I know how difficult it is when the ground beneath our feet doesn’t feel solid anymore and I’ve personally experienced the wild, roller coaster rides that BPPV offers its sufferers.

How my Balance Problems Began

The beginning of my balance problems was actually my fault. Almost 10 years ago I received a diagnosis of significant neck issues. I was fairly young when diagnosed (forty-five), and still of the mindset that I was fairly invincible and that perhaps my neck problems weren’t that serious. I was also angry. Living with chronic pain (I had low back issues as well) has a tendency to make a person frequently impatient and cranky.

One morning I went out to my vehicle and the doors were completely covered with ice. I had planned to take my vehicle in for service and I was already a bit late. I allowed my anger and frustration at having to deal with chronic health issues to spill over into my actions. Although I knew I had neck problems, I didn’t know precisely how far I could go without causing further damage.

I repeatedly shoved my shoulder against the car door in the hopes I could dislodge the ice. I tried this repeatedly on ALL the doors in the hopes I could get one open and eventually I did. I remember waiting at the auto dealership, somewhat in tears, just hoping that my actions did not cause myself any injury. Later that evening, I had an occasion where I closed my eyes for just a bit and I remember feeling unsteady on my feet, but when I opened my eyes, the sensation had passed. Then when I woke up the next morning, I had problems with my balance and I began a self-imposed, very unpleasant and unsteady journey.

The Manifestations

My balance problems really showed up a few days later when I tried to drive to work. My eyes had great difficulty trying to process all the fast-moving traffic and the up and down movement that one experiences while driving. When I finally arrived at work and got out of the car, I could not walk a straight line. Eventually I received a diagnosis of whiplash and I was also prescribed Xanax. I am profoundly grateful for Xanax as without it, I think I would have been basically house-bound the first year after my injury. I still struggled with driving — it took me a year to get back on the freeway and drive at 70 mph, but eventually that ability did return.

Then about 14 months after my whiplash injury, I woke up, went to reach for the alarm and it was as if a washing machine agitator went off in my head. This experience seemed to just come out of the blue. Later on that day I tried to drive and my overall balance was so poor, that I cut my trip short and went home. The next morning I thought surely, I will not experience what I had the previous morning, but I did! Then I knew it was not just a fluke. I went on-line, researched my symptoms and determined I had probably experienced BPPV. BPPV is a typer of vertigo where the room feels like it’s spinning and typically lasts less than minute, and usually happens in bed. My doctor confirmed my suspicions and gave me some exercises, which thankfully, did help improve the BPPV symptoms. I continued to have periodic bouts of intense BPPV over the next few years which I managed with specific exercises.

I’ve had multiple types of balance symptoms over the years. Sometimes it would be so difficult to stand, I would try to grip the floor by curling my toes. I’ve had many times when my eyeballs were rolling uncontrollably around in my head during the early morning hours while sleeping. I’ve lost my balance when looking up at a high shelf and I have chronic ringing in one ear. Sometimes for a split-second, my balance just went completely out from underneath me and I was so thankful I was near a solid surface to grab on to.

Managing and Coping with Balance Issues

I did receive some physical therapy to learn some strategies on how to cope with balance issues. As I mentioned, the BPPV exercises were a godsend. I learned to avoid caffeine when my balance was particularly challenged. Caffeine affects the nervous system, which plays a vital role in the body’s balance mechanism. I also started taking a good quality B-vitamin complex supplement. The B-vitamin family plays an integral role to keep our nervous system functioning properly. I also found some relief with inositol and choline bitartrate supplements, both of which are related to B-vitamins. I learned what my limitations are and I try very hard not to put myself in situations that I know are very difficult for me like riding a bicycle or riding in a boat. Many times I rejected wearing high-heeled shoes in favor of shoes that I knew would provide firm footing.

It’s been almost 9 years now since my balance problems began and it’s been a long, tough road. It’s been a couple of years since I’ve experienced BPPV and as long as I stay within my limits, my balance problems are fairly manageable. Physical therapy, traction and some spinal manipulation by my physical therapist have made a difference. For the most part, I am back to coping only with my original neck and low back issues.

I hope that perhaps something mentioned in my story is helpful to someone. If nothing else, know that you are not alone if you are dealing with challenges stemming from dizziness or balance issues.”

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Our Reviews
Stephanie McGuire
Stephanie McGuire
03:04 14 May 20
Everyone at OBTS - Valparaiso has been great to work with! They are all friendly, thorough, and knowledgeable. I am in my mid/late 30's and had to have lower back surgery. They were quick to get me in for an appointment, answered my questions, are very attentive to how I'm feeling, marking my progress, and closely monitoring that I'm doing each exercise appropriately to get me stronger and more prepared to return to my active lifestyle. They also offer dry needling, laser therapy, and electrical stimulation, which is really nice. I definitely recommend them if you're looking for a PT place. If I ever need PT again in the future, I already know who I'm going to reach out to.
Susan Resteau
Susan Resteau
16:41 22 Apr 20
I was referred to Orthopedic & Balance by a friend who is also a nurse. It proved to be a great recommendation. Having gone through a knee replacement followed by a hip in a short period of time, it was these folks that helped me recover. They have a super staff & if I need assistance again I will most definitely return.
Yvonne Condo
Yvonne Condo
15:26 13 Apr 20
Noel was fantastic and very patient with me. Also, he is funny. Everyone here is wonderful, highly recommend them.
Kathleen Pullins
Kathleen Pullins
22:34 27 Feb 20
Amazing therapists! So kind and patient! They helped me recover from my seventh concussion! No more nausea and 100% improved balance. I made a full recovery in 6 weeks!
Hile Originals
Hile Originals
02:11 31 Jan 20
My neurologist prescribed balance therapy, which was done here at OBTS. I was skeptical of balance therapy at first, but by golly, it worked! It helps that the staff is phenomenal and fun, which helps make therapy sessions a little easier. If I ever have other therapy needs, I will make a return trip here.
Chuck Hillier
Chuck Hillier
20:51 28 Jan 20
I'm in my 4th Week & the Results are Demonstrable ! Referred by my Doc and he's pleased as well. Very Welcoming & Pleasant Atmosphere.... Very Talented & Fun Staff. Chuck H.
Ruth Bowlin
Ruth Bowlin
18:31 22 Jan 20
All your people are very helpful and answer any questions I have enjoy the great help they have given me so can be active again
bill steinbrecher
bill steinbrecher
21:38 17 Jan 20
I enjoyed each visit at OBTS for each of my therapy sessions. They helped and I felt I was a part of a family as I got to know each of the therapists.
rodney dowell
rodney dowell
22:35 13 Jan 20
Ortho/Balance helped me achieve full movement of my knee after full knee replacement. Their Physical Therapy Dept. is exceptional.I have been to other PT CLINICS; but Ortho/Balance outshines them all by a Hundred fold. They are caring and they don't rush you through. I recommend them above all others, they truly the BEST. I was fortunate to have found them by accident. All the staff are great; but Joe Lucio is top shelf. He is attentive and doesn't hurt you Very gentle and gets the job done. THANK YOU ALL RODNEY DOWELL
Amber Verstat
Amber Verstat
19:17 19 Dec 19
Went in with the most horrible pain in my leg muscles. Staff (Joe worked on me) did a wonderful job helping with pain! I was about to just chop off my leg, honestly. Highly recommend!
Lou Donkle
Lou Donkle
18:47 19 Dec 19
5-stars for the hands-on staff, 1-star for the business policies regarding their high-priced laser treatments. I arrived on my first appointment with a prescription from my doctor for medicare-covered machine-therapy (iontophoresis and ultrasound) plus PT. After a 1-hour evaluation with a therapist, only THEN was I informed they do not offer the medicare-covered machine therapy prescribed by my doctor. Three different people eventually told me that my prescribed medicare-authorized treatment was not supported by medical research and they recommended laser therapy that was NOT covered by medicare and would cost me hundreds of dollars for a series of treatments.I was SHOCKED! I asked ... you mean a medicare-authorized treatment is NOT supported by medical research?! And you cannot provide me exactly what I came here to get?! And you waited until AFTER a 1-hour evaluation before you told me all that?! I was in total disbelief and felt terrible because of all the subtle but polite pressure that was put on me when all I wanted was what my doctor had ordered. Why did they need to make me feel so terrible? I just couldn't believe it.After I asked my questions, the "manager" was consulted several times and I was eventually informed that they COULD do most of what was prescribed by my doctor and it would all be covered by medicare. I felt trapped since I had already been there one hour so proceeded with the treatment. This is where the 5-star rating starts. All hands-on people were OUTSTANDING and the full course of PT fixed my issue 100%.My advice is to be very cautious if you are recommended treatments NOT ordered by your doctor. Otherwise, an excellent place.
Elaine Krause
Elaine Krause
18:18 11 Dec 19
I attended several of the Saturday workshops at OBTS to increase my knowledge as a yoga instructor. Noel’s informative presentations were tailored to meet the needs of those individuals who were present. I took advantage of the free assessment offered to the attendees, and chose to try PT to resolve a minor issue. The therapists did an excellent job correcting the problem quickly. Great team of professionals! Thank you!
Timothy Knopf
Timothy Knopf
20:18 30 Oct 19
Best therapy place around. I would recommend this place to everyone. They have the best group of therapists around.
Mitchell Udowitz
Mitchell Udowitz
20:43 27 Oct 19
I have been to two Physical Therapy places prior to finding Orthopedic & Balance Therapy in Valparaiso. While they were ok they don’t hold a candle to Orthopedic & Balance Therapy. OBT team works as one in harmony and they stay on top of the latest technology for their patients. Their team is so very knowledgeable and very friendly plus they generally care about what they are doing and it shows. They are concerned about the whole person not just the injury they need to be treated for.
Barbara Serynek
Barbara Serynek
18:52 03 Oct 19
The entire staff has been very pleasant, professional and accommodating. Both Kristen and Joe have given me the best massages. Kate and Kollin made sure that I was doing my excercises and helped to move things along. Feeling better every visit. I'm so glad that I chose Orthopedic & Balance.
Heidi Richardson
Heidi Richardson
17:00 19 Sep 19
I went to physical therapy not expecting it to do very much to help because that’s the way I approach everything with low expectations. Noel and his team have made my neck feel so much better that it puts me in a more positive mood each day and I actually feel more positive and more productive on a day-to-day basis..
Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell
16:26 14 Aug 19
I could barely walk into OBTS six weeks ago. I had very bad lower back and hip pain. The progress has been life changing for me. I always walk out of there with little or no pain. The staff, Laura, Dr Diane, Angie and, of course, Peggy, have taught me so much to keep my pain at bay. I highly recommend this team.
Nancy Guenther
Nancy Guenther
15:28 12 Jul 19
Absolutely awesome! My walking has improved 110%. And my pain level is zero. I highly recommend them. Go....you will be amazed how much better you feel.
Tracie Baxter
Tracie Baxter
20:24 03 Jul 19
This was the only place that could help with my TMJ. If you’re suffering from TMJ go see Noel! He really understands the condition. I no long have to deal with constant pain! The whole staff at this office is amazing and very welcoming.
Cindy Standiford
Cindy Standiford
21:33 28 Jun 19
The whole team is great!! I’m getting great care! I recommend Orthopedic & Balance for any issues you might have.
Joseph Mulholland
Joseph Mulholland
19:53 09 May 19
Amazing staff and amazing care. I came in barely able to stand up straight due to a back injury. After 6 weeks, I feel like brand new. Everyone was extremely helpful and easy to work with. Highly recommended!
Trool u
Trool u
19:44 24 Apr 19
I am a PTA student that was required 16 hours of observation time. I had the pleasure of completing my hours at this Valpo location. The staff is incredibly friendly. They were quick to make me feel at home. In a way I was sad to leave, but happy to continue on. I hope to eventually work in this field with a work family this caring and knowledgeable about their profession.
sharon Kramer
sharon Kramer
16:23 18 Apr 19
My experience has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in getting me to feeling better.The staff does a remarkable job and are fully qualified in their respective areas. The staff made it fun coming here and they were very caring and helpful with their clients!!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
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