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Balance and Dizziness Program Restores Mary Jean’s Stability and Independence

By |2024-05-10T08:42:43-04:00April 12th, 2018|Categories: Neuroscience, Patient Stories|Tags: , , |

Life has been compared to a carousel—sometimes up, sometimes down, and sometimes round and round. No one understands that better than Mary Jean Sehnal, who suffered from vertigo (the sensation of spinning), weakness, and other problems that impaired her balance for the past 10 years.

“I woke up dizzy every morning, like I was on a merry-go-round,” says the 78-year-old Monroe resident. “Two separate bouts of vertigo were so bad that they left me incapacitated for more than a week.”

Mary Jean was also wobbly on her feet, often swaying to the left side. She found it hard to look both ways before crossing the street, and she was afraid to drive. But the real wake-up call came last summer, when Mary Jean fell twice over the course of two weeks. On one occasion, she found herself sprawled across a busy parking lot.

Shortly after the incident, Mary Jean’s primary care physician, Christopher Wong, MD, referred her to the Balance and Dizziness Program at CentraState’s Health Pavilion at East Windsor. A satellite location for the hospital’s OceanFirst Rehabilitation Center, the facility offers balance testing and training, among other services, to individuals with balance disorders.

Determining the Cause of a Balance Problem
According to physical therapist Patricia Guttormsen, DPT, OCS, FAAOMPT, balance problems can strike anyone, although they’re especially common among the elderly. In most cases, they are related to inner ear issues, head injuries, infections, muscle or joint weakness, certain medications, or simply the process of aging.

After a thorough assessment, Dr. Guttormsen determined that Mary Jean’s balance was compromised by muscle weakness and inner ear problems. She partnered with Heather Murray-Miller, PT, DPT, a CentraState physical therapist specializing in vertigo, to develop a comprehensive treatment plan that combined muscle strengthening physical therapy in the East Windsor facility with a few sessions of vestibular rehabilitation (exercises and movement techniques to treat vertigo) at CentraState. Two months later, Mary Jean was back on solid ground, no longer experiencing vertigo, dizziness, or falls.

“I’m walking with confidence,” Mary Jean says. “I feel better than I have in years!”

For more information about CentraState’s Balance and Dizziness Program, or to schedule a balance screening at one of our rehabilitation centers, call 866-CENTRA7 (866-236-8727).

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