It's something most of us take for granted: our balance. But imagine if every time you sat up or got out of bed it seems as though the room was spinning.
"If I just got out of bed I literally have to grab furniture to not fall," said Denise Rose as she described her symptoms. She really has trouble if she gets up too fast. "Just the world starts spinning, I start feeling a little nauseous, a little flushed," she said.
"Vertigo is when you get a sense that the environment is spinning or that you are spinning," explained physical therapist with LewisGale Rehabilitation Center Nancy Cumins. "It's kind of incorrect input that your brain is getting but it's a sense of movement."
Rose had vertigo 20 years ago. At that time she, was treated successfully. "I did one treatment," Rose said. "I really did very very well continued to scuba dive and do the things I einjoyed.
But now the symptoms have returned. "Iin the past year the symptoms have started again and they seem to be getting worse," Rose said.
Now Rose who's the director of Rehabilitation at LewisGale Medical Center is finding herself in a different role, as a patient getting therapy.
Physical therapist Nancy Cumins went through several eye exercises to try to find out what's causing Rose's vertigo. Sometimes the crystal in the inner ear that makes us sensitive to gravity has become dislodged. That's why many people with vertigo feel symptoms when they make sudden movements, said Cumins.
"You may get it when you do a quick head turn things are dizzy but then it stops because the crystal has moved to a different part of your ear and it's floating in fluid," said Cumins. "As soon as that fluid stops moving the crystal stops moving so you're kind of okay until the next time you do a big movement."
The physical therapy involves moving the patient in ways that bring on the head spins. "Sometimes just so you know people are literally they have no idea where there are. They're pushing me and they're leaning and they're screaming," explained Cumins. "I'm holding on going 'just stay with me. I gotcha' because it is so disorienting for them they have no idea where they are in space."
These sessions are meant to move the crystal back in place. Sometimes after just a couple of sessions the patient is fine, Cumins said. "Sometimes they need some additonal therapy to kind of retrain parts of the inner ear," Cumins said. " Which is part of your balance system to get it back to 100 percent. Often just a couple of repositioning maneuvers gets the crytsal back where it belongs."
"My hope is that Nancy will do her magic," said Rose. "And get my symptoms under control."
Vertigo tends to affect older people and more women than men, but younger folks can get it too. The cause isn't always the same and sometimes it isn't known.
Cumins said many people mistakenly think dizziness is a normal part of aging, but it's not. Medicines can sometimes make you feel dizzy, but if you feel dizzy at certain times of the day or only when you roll over in bed or make quick movements, see your doctor- you could have vertigo that can be treated.