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  • Writer's pictureErienne Blanchard

Is it Vertigo? What if I am dizzy but not spinning?

Being dizzy is a broad term to apply to a lot of different symptoms. Vertigo is the symptom of spinning, either you are spinning in your environment or the environment is spinning around you. If you are not spinning, then your symptom is not vertigo.

Women is curled in bed not feeling well lying on her side with her eyes closed

What if I feel like the world is moving around me? Objects in my vision bounce or move while I walk. I feel unsteady in larger open environments like parking lots and large stores like Walmart and Sam's. I feel unsteady, but no the world does not spin. Is this vertigo?

Women is walking in a large enclosed space with doors and windows on either side that gives a visual challenge

These symptoms are not vertigo but they are part of a vestibular dysfunction. This means that there is something that has impacted and changed the way your inner ear is using the information from your eyes and your head to help keep your world steady. There are more dangerous diagnosis that can cause these but overall this is usually something your physical therapist can resolve with you or help make the diagnosis to get you to the health care professional you need.

A Doctor of Physical Therapy trained in vestibular diagnosis and treatment is skilled in a comprehensive evaluation to determine the underlying cause of the dizziness. The vertigo (spinning) is usually caused by crystals (otoconia) that have moved and are causing the spinning. The ease of this diagnosis (BPPV) is that it can be quickly resolved in clinic with a few visits and most times only one visit. Other causes of dizziness (not spinning) can be evaluated in office and many times be treated over a series of a few visits with your continued work at home between appointments (vestibular hypofunction). There are some other diagnosis that require assistance from neurology, cardiology, primary care, etc. These diagnosis would be a part of the evaluation by your physical therapist and can be assisted with their recommendations based on findings.

Gentleman has his hand on another woman's shoulder standing at his side looking him in the face with a reassuring smile

Vertigo and Dizziness are not the same. Think of Dizziness as the main category and vertigo a subcategory. Other symptoms, brain fog, listing or leaning, walking with a drift to one side, lightheaded after getting up, fatigue and lightheaded after walking, etc. are all under the umbrella of dizziness but have other base diagnosis. See your Physical Therapist to assist with your diagnosis, find the underlying cause of your dizziness, and assist you quickly with treatment to get you back to the activities you love. Dizziness does not have to stay...just needs a little explanation.

Woman on the street holding a coffee cup and talking on the phone

Call or text today to begin your journey of recovery from dizziness

(352) 727-0472 or schedule at

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