It’s no secret that we love our team members here at pt Health. Clinic culture is a huge thing for us, which is why we love turning the spotlight on our fantastic clinicians. Today we’re talking to Clinic Team Manager and physiotherapist at Trafalgar Physiotherapy pt Health in Oakville Ontario. Alex dispells some common vestibular myths, explains why you should give vestibular rehab a try if you’re experiencing dizziness or vertigo, and shares one really surprising fact about himself.
Can you tell us about your education?
I studied at McMaster University where I got my undergraduate degree in kinesiology. I then went on to complete my masters of physiotherapy degree at the University of Toronto (U of T). Since then, I finished the Vestibular Rehabilitation: A Competency Based Course at Emory University which certifies as a vestibular rehabilitation provider. I also completed two Complete Concussion Management courses, received my Advanced Diploma in Manual and Manipulative Therapy (FCAMPT) and got my certification in dry needling.
Do you have an area of focus or special interest?
Yes, my area of particular interest is vestibular rehabilitation, concussion management, and tendinopathies (injuries or dysfunction of the tendons like tendonitis).
What is your Motto or Personal Mantra?
“Every day, try a little harder to be a little better.”
As part of your practice you perform vestibular rehabilitation, can you talk a bit about what that is?
Vestibular rehabilitation is a type of therapy that focuses on helping people who are suffering from:
When you come to me with these issues, I start with a thorough assessment to get an accurate diagnosis of the cause and the best possible treatment. Common causes or conditions include:
- Vestibular dysfunctions
- Neck induced dizziness
When the correct diagnosis has been found we (myself and the clinic team) focus on treatments that are sometimes hands on but are often exercise-based interventions to improve head and eye coordination as well as balance.
What’s the difference between vestibular rehabilitation and concussion physiotherapy?
The big difference here is that a concussion is a mild traumatic brain injury and a people can be affected in many different ways by a concussion. Sometimes they may also need vestibular rehabilitation, but their tolerance might be much lower. Also, there are often visual disturbances that need addressing. Concussions are also generally caused by some form of physical trauma, so consequently, the neck is also often involved and requires treatment.
When would you typically recommend someone try vestibular rehabilitation?
If they are experiencing symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, and nausea vestibular rehabilitation can help!
When would someone want to ask about vestibular rehabilitation?
If they feel they are having trouble with dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, and nausea they should ask their healthcare professional, physiotherapist, nurse, doctor, about whether they are a good candidate for vestibular rehabilitation. However, you don’t need a doctor’s referral to see me or any other physiotherapist for vestibular rehabilitation.
What’s one thing about vestibular rehabilitation you wish everyone knew?
Not every patient has BPPV, the most common cause of vertigo. There are many causes for dizziness and vertigo some are easy and quick to treat, and others take more time and persistence.
What would you say to someone who is hesitant to try vestibular rehabilitation?
I think I would say, “You have an opportunity to get better with vestibular rehabilitation so why not try it? What have you got to lose? ”
For anyone who’s never had physiotherapy or vestibular rehabilitation, what can they expect at their first and subsequent visits?
A thorough assessment focusing on:
- symptoms – what are they exactly (dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea, imbalance, vertigo)
- how do long the symptoms last
- when do the symptoms typically occur?
From there we do a thorough physical exam that focuses on testing the central and peripheral nervous system using vision exams and special tests. I also use infrared video goggles to get more information on how the eyes behave in the dark during our testing.
What is one of your favourite stories of how you helped a patient?
Two come to mind. One had suffered from BPPV since she was a little girl and she was now in her 70s still living with the problem. I was able to help her get rid of her symptoms that she was living with for years. Another one was a young girl who was quite literally disabled by her dizziness that was a result of a vestibular dysfunction following an ear infection, and we were able to get her life back.
To end on a bit of a personal note, what might someone be surprised to know about you?
I love physical activity, can juggle, I am half Guyanese half Italian.
Book your next appointment with Alex at Trafalgar Physiotherapy, if you live or work in the Oakville, Burlington, or Hamilton area, Trafalgar Physiotherapy is easily accessible for you.