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Intense Dizziness, Nausea, and Headache after Physical Therapy

in1peaceiin1peace Posts: 2
edited 01/12/2016 - 7:35 PM in Neck Pain: Cervical
Yesterday I left physical therapy with dizziness, nausea and headache so bad, that I felt maybe I should not drive myself home. But I had to drive because I had to pick up my child from school and no one else could do it. Then again today, shortly upon getting out of bed, I had this foggy headed, intense dizziness, with headache, and nausea. I tried to ignore it and work around it, but it became debilitating. I called the office of the Neurologist and asked if they'd ever heard of anything like this. Immediately I was told no and suggested I see my primary care physician. Feeling like I was told "no" too quickly, I asked if maybe this could be discussed with the Neurologist and the Neurology Assistant said she would pass my message along. I also called the Physical Therapy office and asked the same question. Here was what the person at the desk said, "Well, yes, we have .. um... well, wait a minute, let me look and see who did your therapy and I will have someone speak with you." I was put on hold and then a Physical Therapist picked up. I repeated my question. To which she replied, "No, no, well let's see. What kind of treatment did you have?" I told her that I'd done the typical recommended cervical exercises and then the therapist performed manual spinal traction. "Ok, so let's see, spinal traction... let me put you on hold for a moment and look at your chart." I was on hold for a while and then was told "Ma'am, we've never had anyone mention that complaint." I asked, " Are you sure? No one has ever complained of dizziness and nausea after a session?" The therapist did not answer this question. Instead she asked me about my medical history saying, "Oh I see you have high blood pressure in your file. Do you still have that?" I said, "Yes, I'm being treated for it, but it does not get high because I take medication which keeps it in the normal range." The therapist on the phone asked me if I had a machine to check my BP. I did. She asked me to check it and that she would be interested to see what it was and then she wanted me to call her back. (Ok... does anyone smell anything rotten yet?) I get off the call, check my BP, it is 120 over 80 with pulse of 56. Pretty normal for me. I call the therapist back and tell her the results. "Oh. Ok. Is that what your BP usually is?" I reply, "Yes, pretty much. Not too out of the ordinary." She responds, "Well I suspected it was high blood pressure, but maybe you just got up too quickly." I reminded her that my headache was debilitating and lasted all day. To this she remarked, "I honestly do not know. You might be getting sick, coming down with something. This is not typical of cervical manipulation." I hang up the phone and see that I miss a call from Neurology. I call them back. The assistant says, "I put your message back to the Neurologist and they said it is not a typical issue or symptom of your condition and believe it is something totally unrelated. This is not a question for us, it would be better to check with your general practitioner as there could be many reasons for dizziness and your doctor can draw labs for that." My reply "Oh. Well, the reason I asked you the question is because it happened right after cervical manipulation at physical therapy and believed it was related somehow." The assistant says, "You know, you might be getting sick. The Neurologist recommends clear liquids and bed rest and if you don't feel better in a day or two, call your primary care. This is not something we deal with here." Ok.... I'm not calling anyone a liar. I'm not questioning anyone's medical ability. However, doesn't this seem a bit avoidant to any of you? Have any of you had a similar experience as well? Please share if you have!!
My history is an MRI that showed a bulging disk and a herniated disk at C5-C6 and C6-C7. I've had the pain meds and then the cortisone epidural injection. My pain is excruciating without pain meds. I can get through the day on pain medication, however, nights are different. I can only lie in one position and usually I end up on my back in my sleep and wake up to excruciating pain. I'm not getting any sleep these days. I might sleep 15 minutes at a time and then wake up. No restful sleep at all. The physical therapy does not seem to do anything for the pain and no changes. I really, truly believe that this dizziness and headache were the result of cervical manipulation. I can't think of any other cause of it. I'm not about to head to my primary care, because we've been through all kinds of testing to get this far. I feel like the Physical Therapy office that I went to almost confessed that other clients had experienced this until I was put on hold and was given another person to talk with.
I have no desire to sue, I am not out to make any healthcare professional look bad, I just want answers! Anyone else on this forum experience these symptoms? I would really like to know, because I am so tired of unnecessary tests. I really believe it was the cervical manipulation and I am probably going to stop Physical Therapy. I have another cortisone injection tomorrow and if it works as badly as the first, I suppose I am headed for neck surgery. I can't live like this. I am so exhausted.
Please share? Thank you!!

There is a very old thread covering this topic you may find useful

Liz, Spine-health Moderator


  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    Please take the time to read this post and refer to it when you have questions

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    Liz -Spine-health Moderator

    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
  • dilaurodilauro ConnecticutPosts: 9,847
    edited 01/12/2016 - 11:28 PM
    after some of my cervical manipulations, specifically cervical traction. I would also get that several times after using my home cervical traction kit.

    But that all happened before my ACDFs. Once I was fused, any type of traction was out and cervical manipulations almost ceased. Instead it was replaced by more of a myofascial type of massage in the neck.
    Ron DiLauro Spine-Health System Administrator
    I am not a medical professional. I comment on personal experiences
    You can email me at: rdilauro@veritashealth.com
  • I appreciate any comments.
    Liz, is this standard for new folks to receive a comment from you regarding rules and standards of the forum? Or have I posted something you feel is inappropriate?
    Dilauro, thank you for validating what I experienced! It seems as if several posters recognize these symptoms as associated with cervical traction. It would seem that Physical Therapists could validate this as well. Feeling like that is a bit scary, especially if you are driving yourself home. I think if I felt it again, I would ask that it be written in my Physical Therapy chart and I would have to call someone to drive me home. I think all of us want answers when our bodies react to some new procedure. It's good to have a place to post with others who experience spinal issues.
  • LizLiz Posts: 7,832
    edited 01/13/2016 - 10:18 PM

    This link will explain about why we post our message....


    Liz, Spine-health Moderator

    Spinal stenosis since 1995
    Lumber decompression surgery S1 L5-L3[1996]
    Cervical stenosis, so far avoided surgery
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