Feeling solid and steady on one’s feet is something many people take for granted. But when the world starts spinning, standing tall can prove to be an insurmountable challenge.
It’s something that Brant Jones understands well.
The physical therapist with Advance Rehabilitation on St. Simons Island has spent a good portion of his career helping those who afflicted with these symptoms, much of which is characterized as vertigo.
“A lot of times all dizziness is called vertigo, but there can different causes,” he said.
One of the most common is a vestibular or inner ear imbalance. That, Jones says, can have various impacts on a person’s life. For some, it can be a mild condition, while others experience debilitating symptoms that make even simple tasks nearly impossible.
For others, it’s particular movements that bring on the condition.
“For some patients, it’s a positional vertigo, that is, they have that sensation of spinning or rotation when they’re in certain positions. It can be when lying in bed or rolling over and can last 10, 20 or 30 seconds,” he explained.
“It can also come on when a patient bends down or reaches into a cabinet to get something from a shelf. So these are movements that most of us do on a daily basis … when the world starts spinning, so to speak, and you have no balance, that can make you feel very unsafe.”
Patients who experience this type of vertigo are often, understandably, guarded with their movements. They restrict activities and try to avoid these episodes at all costs.
And Jones says, that can really change a person’s life.
“Some people really have their lives limited,” he said. “They feel uneasy about moving and that can keep them confined to their home.”
But, Jones wants those suffering to know that help is available. At Advance Rehabilitation, the therapists evaluate each patient’s condition and develop an individualized treatment plan.
“We talk to patients to understand any previous diagnosis and then we do a full evaluation. We determine whether it’s a vestibular or positional type of vertigo and once we know what it is, we can develop a treatment plan to correct the problem,” he said.
That can go a long way toward changing a person’s life. Jones has seen countless instances of patients re-embracing life after years of holding back.
“And once they’ve learned how to handle it, they’re able to act if it returns. It makes you feel good to know that you’ve helped someone,” Jones said.
“To make an impact on them and get them back to where they want to be as far as their daily activities, their social activities, functionally or things they like to do ... getting back on the golf course or playing tennis — if you can help them do that and give them a better quality of life. It’s a good feeling.”
But like all ailments, the sooner it’s caught and treated — the better the changes of a full recovery.
“We really want to get them in and get them the help they need as soon as possible,” he said.
That’s an attitude shared by Jones’ fellow therapists and staff at both clinics, in Brunswick and on St. Simons Island. The team, as a whole, are eager to work together and support one another as they work toward the common goal of getting all their patients be their best selves.
“It’s a very team-oriented atmosphere. Everyone is working together for that main goal — to serve our patients,” he said. “And I think that our patients recognize and appreciate that. They feel comfortable with us and know that they’re going to get the highest quality of care when they’re here.”