Without warning, Shirley Stewart’s world turned upside down.

“I tried to get out of bed and just suddenly the room spun I started to throw up, terrible nausea.”

It was her first go-round with vertigo.

“I thought I was gonna die, it was so terrible,” says Shirley.

By definition vertigo is the illusion of motion. Practically speaking people feel like they have seasickness; with dizziness, nausea and lack of balance.

Symptoms are cause by a disturbance deep within the inner ear. We all have naturally occurring calcium crystals there, which can detach and create problems.

“In our inner ear we have three semi circ canals and then there’s also a central area here called the utricle, the calcium crystals lie within this utricle, then what happens is, some of those crystals can become loose and dislodge from the utricle and then fall into one or more of these canals, so when the patient moves their head in certain positions, the crystals will move within the canal and then that will create the symptoms of vertigo,” says Dawn Root, a physical therapist with Lee Memorial Health System.

Dawn guided Shirley through a series of motions to test and realign her system.

“The goal of therapy is to move the patient in certain positions to move those crystals along the canal and then back out into the central area where the body will then break them down and reabsorb them,” says Dawn.

Patients usually get relief within one to three sessions.

“I’ve been trying to spread the word because people suffer without knowing that this vertigo can be abated,” says Shirley.

It helped Shirley get back on solid ground.

View More Health Matters video segments at leememorial.org/healthmatters/

Lee Memorial Health System in Fort Myers, FL is the largest network of medical care facilities in Southwest Florida and is highly respected for its expertise, innovation and quality of care. For nearly a century, we've been providing our community with everything from primary care treatment to highly specialized care services and robotic assisted surgeries.

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