Patient Profile: Patty Hopkins
About Patty Hopkins
Patty Hopkins’ dizzy spell came on without warning. “I woke up one morning and when I turned my head to the left the whole room was spinning,” she said. “This only happened when I turned to the left. I felt a nauseating vertigo and had absolutely no idea what was going on. My vision was also affected, my eyes weren’t tracking together.”
Patty gave it a day to see if the feeling subsided, when it didn’t, she went to urgent care, and was surprised at what she learned. “The doctor explained that the dizziness was caused by a misalignment of the crystals in my ear and gave me some medication to take to ease my symptoms,” Patty said. “He also said that sometimes physical therapy can correct the problem.”
“The next day I was in charge of a big silent auction fundraiser and I took the medication, which is similar to what you would take for seasickness,” she said. The vertigo wasn’t going away and Patty did not want to continue taking the medication because it made her very tired.
The dizziness and vision problems were affecting her work. Patty owns Cascade Communications, a marketing communications firm in Galesville. She does much of her work on her computer. She said, “When you have vertigo, you can’t do anything. I was afraid to even turn my head. Working on the computer was nearly impossible, along with driving.”
Patty had some familiarity with therapy, as she had worked with Achieve Physical Therapy for some back problems. Patty called physical therapist Stefanie McCoy to see if Achieve could help her with her dizziness.
Patty said, “Stefanie explained that this condition is very treatable.” The next day, Patty had an appointment with physical therapist Shari Borreson, who specializes in vestibular rehabilitation.
Shari said, “Our goal in treating dizziness is to correctly identify the cause of the dizziness, provide treatment that may help with the immediate symptoms and finally to educate the patient about the condition including what can be done to manage it now and in the future.”
Patty said, “Shari warned me that that the exercises may seem strange. She had me sit on the edge of the bed with my feet on the floor, look straight at her for 30 seconds, turn my head quickly to the right, fall on the bed to my left side and bring my feet up, while I continued to stare. Then I would do the same thing on the other side.
“The exercises were very easy to do. I started to notice an improvement within 48 hours. It took a few weeks for everything to get back to normal. I still do the exercises as prevention. Now it has been over a year and I haven’t had any issues whatsoever.”Patty praised the therapists at Achieve. “They calmed my fears, they educated and empowered me. If I ever feel like this becomes a problem again, I have the tools and exercises to deal with it. I don’t have to be afraid of it because I know it’s manageable.”