Differential diagnosis of a patient referred to physical therapy for dizziness: a case report.
STUDY DESIGN: Case report. BACKGROUND: Dizziness is a common and debilitating condition across the lifespan. Patients with this complaint must be carefully examined to determine the cause of dizziness, rule out the presence of central nervous system dysfunction, and determine the appropriateness of physical therapy intervention. CASE DESCRIPTION: A 90-year-old male was referred to physical therapy six months after the onset of dizziness. A thorough history was taken and examination was performed. Signs consistent with central nervous system dysfunction and peripheral vestibular dysfunction were observed. The patient was treated for the peripheral vestibular disorder and referred back to his physician for further testing. Imaging revealed that the patient had idiopathic normal pressure hydrocephalus. DISCUSSION: This case illustrates the need for physical therapists to perform thorough examinations of patients with a primary complaint of dizziness and properly interpret positive central signs, indicating a potential need for referral to a physician or other healthcare provider when they appear.
Rethorn, Z; Barlow, SJ; Gavlick, E
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