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VERTIGO: Q & A with Dr. Sydney Duhe

September 17, 2021

This week we had the pleasure of discussing a very common ailment with one of our good friends. Dr. Sydney Duhe joins us to shed some light on an issue that most people have experienced or know someone who has... vertigo! 

Dr. Duhe is a specialist in treating various types of vertigo and is very knowledgeable in this area. Please continue reading for some great information on vertigo and how it can be cured! 


Tell us a little bit about your background and what you're doing now

Sydney Duhe: I am from Shreveport, LA and attended LSU in Baton Rouge for my undergraduate degree in kinesiology. I graduated from LSU Health Sciences Center New Orleans with a Doctorate in Physical Therapy in 2016. I have worked at the Hearing and Balance Center at Our Lady of the Lake in Baton Rouge, LA for five years. I specialize in vestibular (inner ear) disorders and evaluate and treat a wide range of vestibular diagnoses causing vertigo or imbalance.


What is the most common type of vertigo/inner ear issue that you see?

SD: There are many causes of vertigo, but the most common is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This vestibular disorder is commonly known as having “crystals” loose. It is characterized by brief episodes of a spinning sensation that is triggered by changes in head or body position. People most commonly notice this dizziness when rolling in bed, bending forward as if to tie your shoe, or looking up as if to change a lightbulb.


What causes BPPV?

SD: Symptoms of BPPV are caused by dislodged otoconia (calcium carbonate “crystals”) that move from one part of the inner ear (utricle) to another part of the inner ear (semicircular canal). The presence of crystals in the semicircular canals causes vertigo with changes in head or body position. BPPV can be spontaneous and is more common with advanced age. It can occur with head trauma, infection, or other disorders such as Ménière’s disease or migraines.


Can Physical Therapy help with vertigo? 

SD: Physical therapy is a very effective method of treatment for BPPV. Your PT will perform a maneuver to reposition the crystals that have been dislodged. The most common maneuver performed is the Epley maneuver, although skilled assessment by your PT is needed to determine the correct treatment. Your symptoms should resolve within a few treatment sessions for classic cases of BPPV.


Are there any preventative measures that can be taken to prevent vertigo? 

SD: Most cases of BPPV are not directly preventable. However, staying well hydrated and eating a healthy diet can improve the general function of your inner ear and could theoretically decrease or prevent vertiginous episodes. Medications are not typically beneficial for prevention or treatment of BPPV. If symptoms related to BPPV do not resolve or are persistent, it is recommended that you discuss your symptoms with an ENT.


We greatly appreciate Dr. Duhe's time and sharing some insight on a problem that can be quite debilitating at times and if not taken care of quickly. 

We also have therapists at LOTS that are specifically trained to perform the Epley maneuver and other vertigo rehabilitation and conditioning. If you or anyone you know is struggling with severe or chronic dizziness, give us a call to set up your evaluation! 


Chase Patterson PT, DPT (9/16/21)