Is Their Dizziness Caused by Vestibular Imbalance?

While dizziness and balance impairment increases with age, it’s important to watch out for those same problems in children and to rule out underlying conditions.

A survey conducted by the National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) sheds light on the risk factors associated vestibular impairment in children in the United States.

The survey of parents revealed that:

  • Five percent of children aged 3-18 have dizziness or balance problems
  • Older children experience it more: 7.5 percent of children ages 15-17 and 6.0 percent of children ages 12-14 have dizziness or balance problems. This was compared with 3.6 percent of children ages 6-8 and 4.1 percent of children ages 3-5
  • With respect to ethnicity, non-Hispanic white children have an increased prevalence of dizziness and balance problems (6.1 percent) compared with Hispanic (4.6 percent) and non-Hispanic black (4.3 percent) children
  • Girls experience dizziness/balance problems more than boys (girls: 5.7 percent; boys: 5 percent)


  • Boys who have dizziness and balance impairment are more likely to have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, attention deficit disorder, and stuttering
  • Girls who have dizziness and balance impairment are more likely to have anemia, hearing difficulties, respiratory allergies, and headaches/migraines.

Related: “What is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?”

Dog Food Bakers Share Wisdom

The Happy Dog Barkery held a workshop in our office on February 17th. Located in downtown Downers Grove about a half-mile down the road from us, they’ve been cooking up delicious puppy treats for 25 years.

Here are some tips they gave us concerning pet nutrition:

  • Provide water to promote digestion, prevent dehydration, and avoid overworked kidneys
  • Kibble was created for convenience, not optimal nutrition
  • The ingredients panel should not include: corn, wheat, soy byproducts, BHT, BHA
  • Dog food ingredients should include named protein sources and fruits and vegetables.
  • Include treats in total daily caloric intake

Want to learn more about providing the best diet to your pooch? Here are some helpful websites:

Rehab Benefits of Pilates

Pilates is rooted in rehab. Its originator, Joseph Pilates, made a name for himself by using it for that purpose, even before coming to America.

A native German, he immigrated to Great Britain first and was, by a conspicuous twist of fate, interned on the Isle of Man during World War I. It was there, while working in a hospital, that he used exercises that strengthened him as a sickly youth to strengthen injured soldiers. And get this: many of the people he rehabbed survived the 1918 influenza epidemic!

Even today, researchers have shown how Pilates helps a number of musculoskeletal conditions, including knee injuries. Moreover, they have discovered how Pilates helps in rapid rehabilitation following surgeries. Brett R. Levine, an orthopedic surgeon in the Chicago area, demonstrated how patients were more satisfied with their total hip (THA) and total knee arthroplasties (TKA) after taking up Pilates before and after surgery.

The videos below show how Dr. Levine came to be involved in his research, and how confident he is that a  dancer will benefit from Pilates after her ACL tore for the second time.




Popular MELT Method Pain-Relief Classes Return

You’re not injured, and you don’t have arthritis. So why do you still have the WORST chronic pain? It may be that you have knotted connective tissue that needs some loosening.

Enter The MELT Method. Mary French will be facilitating a four-week series of classes starting at 7 pm on Thurs. February 15, 2018.

The MELT Method is a way for people to provide massage therapy on themselves. It’s like massage therapy in that it works on soft tissue. It’s like self-myofascial release in that it’s self-implemented, and yet, it’s focused on fascia instead of muscular blood flow, promoting fascia rehydration  through soft compression.

People who MELT (use The MELT Method) experience relief of aches and pains along with easier and less painful movement. And parents often claim that those aches and pains ascribed to aging don’t bother them as much.

Mary will teach some techniques and sequences that help with the lower back, legs, neck, and shoulders. She’ll even teach some techniques intended to hydrate facial muscles (as in, “a lovely face”) and promote a more youthful look.

Register for this very effective series by clicking here.

Still not sure MELT is right for you? Attend an introductory workshop.

Bodyweight Support Allows Safe Reloading Following Knee Injury, Surgery

It’s unfortunate that many people stop being active because of lingering pain from an injury or surgery.

To help our patients battle this aspect of human nature, we purchased a body-weight support machine in January to provide better rehab to our patients.

The “machine” is actually a bungee-and-rack setup around the treadmill. The Lightspeed, as it is called, can reduce as much as 45 pounds’ worth of force on joints, allowing patients to ease back into walking and running.

It’s ideal for runners and people recovering from joint surgery or knee injury.

People can use this machine to:

  • Lessen the effect of instinctual muscle guarding and promote normal striding
  • Return to running after being away for any length of time
  • Train for improved gait for everyday walking
  • Begin a walking or running program with fewer setbacks

Lightspeed is easy to use. It’s comfortable and easily set up. When strapped in, there’s no sense in the patient that he/she is loosing contact with the ground.

Attend Appointments for Physical, Emotional Healing

Unrealistic PT expectations a la Dos Equis Man
To make progress in physical therapy, expect to work hard and attend several appointments.

On a weekly basis we receive calls from patients who need to cancel their appointments. The reasons are quite common. Another injury occurs. An illness pops up. A family member is admitted to the hospital. Despite life happening, we all recognize the importance of carrying on when possible. There’s a spouse, child, parent, grandchild, employee, or executive board that’s depending on us, after all.

In the mix of life, remember that you and your own healing are important, too. And the only thing you need to improve your chances of healing are two to three hours. Upwards of two physical therapy visits per week will drastically increase the chances of positive physical therapy outcomes.

Boosting Chances of Recovery

In the summer 2017 issue of Current Orthopaedic Practice, researchers summarized patient outcomes based on the number of their weekly physical therapy visits.

Nine of 10 patients who attended physical therapy appointments twice weekly experienced positive outcomes—meaning they achieved their therapy-related goals and fully returned to their prior levels of functioning. What’s more is that six of 10 patients who attended 1.67 appointments experienced positive outcomes.

While the research findings emphasized two visits, we find in our practice that three visits per week is the optimal frequency of visits for two reasons. First, many referring physicians prescribe three physical therapy visits per week. Second, some issues are so complicated that a fewer number of visits will not do the patient justice.

So, what does this all mean? Attend all of your thrice-weekly appointments, attend more of your scheduled appointments than you cancel, and it won’t hurt to triple or quadruple up on your weekly appointments if you do miss one.

Encountering Emotional Barriers

Sometimes though, we internalize life’s problems, and the invariable impediment to keeping all PT appointments can be emotional. If you are experiencing anxiety or depression, reach out to your doctor or loved one, and be sure to find a PT clinic where you feel cared for emotionally as well as physically.

Finally, if you suspect your loved one of being depressed, know that injury or chronic pain and disability exact an emotional toll. Offer your support, availability and encouragement to help your loved one attend scheduled physical therapy appointments. Physical recovery and gaining the skills to manage chronic pain go a long way toward emotional health.

Physical And Financial Advantages of Not Ignoring Pain

Stop Ignoring Pain

cost-savings of direct access
This illustration from Virginia Mason Medical Center Shows the cost savings experienced when they changed how they referred patients with back pain.

People tend to experience the best physical therapy outcomes when they handle pain early.

One study in September’s New England Journal of Medicine showed that injured amateur athletes who waited one week longer took two weeks longer to recover than those who went into treatment sooner.

Even individuals who begin treatments within two weeks of receiving a referral experience better outcomes.  This timing, termed early referral, leads to less costs in imaging, specialists, surgery, etc. It also costs the healthcare system less overall.

How Chronic Pain Fits In

What about chronic pain (lasting longer than three months)? Maybe you’ve adjusted to your condition and developed a workable life routine.

Be that as it may, it’s important keep an eye out for other treatments that can help you be as active as possible, especially if the activity level you’ve been used to is being threatened.

That’s because the body adjusts to physical and mental trauma. It also adjusts to our everyday habits. Posture worsens. Connective tissue dries up. Muscles shrink or become tight. Joints become compromised. Gait changes.

One pain can lead to other pains. For example, back pain, which is a common physical complaint, has been linked to numerous chronic pain culprits such as fibromyalgia and piriformis syndrome.

Physical therapists use their deep understanding of movement correction to help people and manage their pain. Also, physical therapy can reduce the chances of developing chronic pain following an injury.

functional exercise in physical therapy
Patients benefit from consulting physical therapists quickly and without a referral. During the consultation, a physical therapist can determine injury types and whether those injuries can be treated with physical therapy.

Furthermore, treatments are getting better all of the time. Understanding of musculoskeletal function, manual techniques, and functionally-rehabilitative exercises improves. Also, we use technologies such as electrical stimulation and deep tissue laser therapy, which are powerful means of pain reduction.

Direct Access

When you decide to handle your pain, it’s actually easy for you to do so and not worry that you’re going in the wrong direction.

What makes us so confident in saying this?

It’s called direct access. In Illinois this means that no referral for physical therapy is required until after an initial physical therapy evaluation. It can cut out a lot of waiting time, such as waiting for a doctor’s appointment and then waiting for a physical therapy appointment.

As licensed therapists, we are competent at differential diagnosis, or deciding if your condition can benefit from therapy. In that case, direct access may help to avoid costly medications, injections and even surgery in some cases. Alternatively, if a therapist determines that non-PT treatments would be better, he or she can provide a referral to the appropriate specialist.

The bottom line is that most people can benefit from noninvasive medical treatments. Others with critical illnesses or severe joint dysfunction do require more invasive methods. In either case, a physical therapist is here to provide an extra layer of counsel as you decide the best course of treatment for your pain. Only decide sooner rather than later. Your health depends on it.