Champion Performance and physical therapy


Vertigo usually is described as a spinning sensation, whereas dizziness usually is described as "lightheadedness." Often, they have different causes and different treatments.

If you have vertigo accompanied by one or more of the following symptoms, immediately call 911 or emergency medical services (EMS) so that an ambulance can be sent for you:

  • Double vision
  • Difficulty speaking
  • A change in alertness
  • Arm or leg weakness
  • Inability to walk

What Is Vertigo?

Vertigo is the sensation of spinning—even when you're perfectly still, you might feel like you're moving or that the room is moving around you. Most causes of vertigo involve the inner ear ("vestibular system"). A number of conditions can produce vertigo, such as:

  • Inner ear infections or disorders
  • Migraines
  • Tumors, such as acoustic neuroma
  • Surgery that removes or injures the inner ear or its nerves
  • Head injury that results in injury to the inner ears
  • A hole in the inner ear
  • Stroke

You also might have:

  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Sweating
  • Abnormal eye movements

One of the most common forms of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, an inner-ear problem that causes short periods of a spinning sensation when your head is moved in certain positions.

How Is It Diagnosed?

Your physical therapist will use your answers to the following questions to help identify the cause of your vertigo and to determine the best course of treatment:

  • When did you first have vertigo (the sensation of spinning)?
  • What are you doing when you have vertigo (turning your head, bending over, standing perfectly still, rolling in bed)?
  • How long does the vertigo last(seconds, minutes, hours, days)?
  • Have you had vertigo before?
  • Do you have hearing loss, ringing, or fullness in your ears?
  • Do you have nausea with the spinning?
  • Have you had any changes in your heart rate or breathing?

Your physical therapist will perform tests to determine the causes of your vertigo and also to assess your risk of falling. Depending on the results of the tests, your therapist may recommend further testing or consultation with your physician.

How Can a Physical Therapist Help?

Based on your physical therapist's evaluation and your goals for recovery, the therapist will customize a treatment plan for you. The specific treatments will depend on the cause of your vertigo. Your therapist's main focus is to help you get moving again and manage the vertigo at the same time. Treatment may include specialized head and neck movements or other exercises to help eliminate your symptoms. Conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo have very specific tests and treatments.

If you have dizziness and balance problems after your vertigo has stopped, your physical therapist can develop a treatment plan that targets those problems. Your physical therapist will teach you strategies to help you cope with your symptoms:

  • Do certain activities or chores around the house cause you to become dizzy? Your therapist will show you how to do those activities in a different way to help reduce the dizziness.
  • Have simple activities become difficult and cause fatigue and more dizziness? Your therapist will help you work through these symptoms right away so you can get moving again and return to your roles at home and at work more quickly.

Physical therapy treatments for dizziness can take many forms. The type of exercise that your therapist designs for you will depend on your unique problems and might include:

  • Exercises to improve your balance
  • Exercises to help the brain "correct" differences between your inner ears
  • Exercises to improve your ability to focus your eyes and vision

In addition, your physical therapist might prescribe exercises to improve your strength, your flexibility, and your heart health—with the goal of improving your overall physical health and well being.

What Kind of Physical Therapist Do I Need?

All physical therapists are prepared through education and experience to treat people with dizziness. You may want to consider:

  • A physical therapist who is experienced in treating people with neurological problems. Some physical therapists have a practice with a neurological vestibular rehabilitation focus.
  • A physical therapist who is a board-certified clinical specialist or who completed a residency or fellowship in neurological physical therapy. This therapist has advanced knowledge, experience, and skills that may apply to your condition.

You can find physical therapists who have these and other credentials by using Find a PT, the online tool built by the American Physical Therapy Association to help you search for physical therapists with specific clinical expertise in your geographic area.

General tips when you're looking for a physical therapist (or any other health care provider):

  • Get recommendations from family and friends or from other health care providers.
  • When you contact a physical therapy clinic for an appointment, ask about the physical therapists' experience in helping people with inner ear injury.
  • During your first visit with the physical therapist, be prepared to describe your symptoms in as much detail as possible, and say what makes your symptoms worse.


If you’re an athlete, you know that long periods of training followed by performing at peak levels can take a toll on your body. Whether you’ve experienced an acute injury or have become hurt as a result of overuse, the professional physical therapists from Champion Performance and Physical Therapy in Prairie Village, Kansas can help you get back in the game with their effective sports physical therapy programs.

If you’re an athlete considering sports physical therapy, take a look at some of the ways in which you could benefit from treatment at Champion:

  • Less Downtime: Sports physical therapy helps athletes regain muscle strength without damaging the injured area further. This will help you proactively work to repair injured tissue and get back to your training or active recovery period faster and with less downtime.
  • Better Odds For A Full Recovery: Instead of letting an injury “ride its course,” physical therapy takes a proactive approach to healing and thus increases your odds of making a complete recovery. Under the care of a physical therapist, you’ll also know exactly when you can resume your normal activity levels again, whereas athletes who don’t seek physical therapy often try to do too much too soon and risk re-injuring themselves.
  • You’ll Receive Tailored Treatment: Some athletes make the mistake of trying to rehabilitate their injured body part on their own, but this approach overlooks the fact that each body and injury is unique. The professionals at Therapy Works utilize a number of different treatment methods and have the skills, knowledge, and experience to tailor their sports physical therapy program to the unique needs of each patient.

Click on the contact information tab on our website menu for a full list of contact options.


1. You have healthy knees – and you’d like to keep it that way. That’s not a job you can tackle sitting down, though getting into a 90-degree position could help. First, though, you’ll want to heed a simple but central lesson roughly adapted from age-old song lyrics: “The hip bone’s connected to the knee bone.” Physical activities that strengthen your hips, quads, calves, and ankles are also good for your knees, while weakness in any of those areas can increase knee strain and risk of injury. So think “holistic” leg health.


2. Indelicate squat discussion first. You’re going to be doing that kind of loading on the knee joint just to get on and off the toilet. It’s important to do exercises that prepare the knee for regular day-to-day activities. Squatting really affects all the muscles around the knee joint, including strengthening the muscles around the knee joint. Haven’t done squats in a while – or ever? Start by doing at least 8-12 reps with just your weight, going down to just above 90 degrees, or right at 90 degrees if you don’t have any discomfort, injuries or issues that prevent that. Alternative: try leg press if you have back problems or other issues preventing you from doing squats.


3. Like squats, lunges can also be an excellent exercise to improve strength in your quads and butt o help support your knees. With both exercises, he notes, make sure you’re in good position – feet firmly planted. So that you’re not coming too far forward and putting more stress on the joint. Talk to your doctor before doing lunges if you’re concerned about a preexisting issue, like osteoarthritis or a knee injury, to keep from exacerbating it.


4. Whether you’re familiar with step-ups or not, you get the general idea. You’re lifting your body weight using one hip, one leg to get that weight, like you’re going up the stairs. Keeping the hip joint muscles strong and well-conditioned along with muscles around the ankle strong and well-conditioned will help minimize the risk of injury at the knee joint. To get started with step-ups, place your foot on a high step, weight bench or plyo boxes, so that your leg is bent at about a 90-degree angle. Then bring your other foot up onto the surface. Repeat for 12-15 reps, and add weight as you’re able.


5. A weak back and stomach can put extra stress on the joints that support your body. A good core strengthening program is important and paramount to the health of your knees, hips, and lower extremities. It’s important to do plenty of back and abdominal strengthening exercises. A range of activities can help in core strengthening, experts say, while improving flexibility, balance, stability, which are also protective of joint strength.


6. Running has taken a pounding for the pounding it can take on the knees. For most people, it’s a safe activity. It’s easy, low cost, and we’re all designed to run for the most part. IT’s just being smart about what you can tolerate. That goes for not ramping up too quickly to longer distances or pushing through the pain of an injury – and taking time off to heal as needed. While some who have arthritis in their knees are still able to run, experts say it’s important to talk with a physician about any existing knee issues to determine what’s safe, including when walking might be more appropriate.


7. Whether you’re biking with friends or riding alone, racing the clock or just catching a cool breeze, taking to two wheels can strengthen your quads and calves – and even improve overall leg strengthening to bolster the knee health. Cycling is also a low-impact activity. The circular, rhythmic pedaling is easy on the knees and it can provide a great aerobic workout to boot.


8. Though many do just fine running on a treadmill, trying alternating an elliptical machine for an aerobic workout that works the legs while being easy on the knees. With your foot planted against a platform, there’s not repetitive impact that leads to the degredation of cartilage over time. And! It can help maintain muscular endurance.


9. While certain exercises target muscles are the joint, at the end of the day any strength training or aerobic exercise that helps you maintain a healthy weight reduces pressure on your knees. When you stand on one foot, 5-8x your body weight goes through your knee joint. If you gain 5 pounds, that’s an extra 25-40 pounds of pressure going through your knee joint. If for no other reason, exercise to keep your weight in check to decrease the stress on joints. That goes for knee-friendly exercises ranging from the elliptical machine to cycling, experts say, and anything else that gets you moving.