How it all started

January 2021

A young woman, with a limited understanding of physiotherapy and no understanding of vestibular therapy, scours the internet in search of a full time job during the Covid19 pandemic. Hoping to find a full-time receptionist position, but knowing that she is under-qualified with no previous reception experience. Sigh* anyone been there?

When all hope seems lost, an ad for a Customer Engagement Specialist at a physiotherapy clinic pops up on Indeed and she leaps at this. Many friends, colleagues and strangers have described her as enthusiastic, energetic and engaging so this seems like it could be a perfect fit!. Eagerly, she reformats her resume and cover letter to demonstrate her transferable skills and hopefully convince her future employer that she is worthy and more than capable of filling the role about which she knows very little. Gulp. Fingers crossed!

The next few days pass slowly as she waits to hear about the position. Hours seem like days, days like weeks, time passes at snail’s pace. She is running low on hope. Then it all happens in a blur: a phone call, an interview, a Zoom call, a job-shadow and bing-bang-boom, EMPLOYED! She’s in! Before long it hits her that she’s going to have a colossal learning curve to traverse as she learns the ins and outs of physiotherapy, seeing as she is going to be the first contact with all customers. 

Physiotherapy, more that injuries, car accidents & sciatica

Prior to the job, her understanding of physiotherapy was that it was for those who had an injury, a car accident, or sciatica. She was sure there was more, but that was all she had come across thus far. 

North 49 has a highly regarded reputation as a clinic offering Vestibular Therapy and thus, this was one of the first things the young woman (Ciera) was taught during her training. 

Ciera: “So, people who are dizzy or have trouble with balance can go to a physiotherapist to get a diagnosis?” 

Kregg: “You got it! As long as they have specialized training in the area of Vestibular Therapy.”

Ciera: “Right! Ok, so my grandpa has had “vertigo”…”

Kregg: “Let me stop you there, vertigo is merely a symptom of a type of vestibular disorder and is meant to describe the experience of the room spinning around one or one spinning around a room when, in actuality, everything is still.”

Ciera: “Oh, well that is something else I didn’t know! So vertigo isn’t a diagnosis it’s just a symptom. Huh. Ok, well my grandpa has experienced vertigo for as long as I can remember and you’re saying if he is able to do an assessment with a Vestibular Therapist they might be able to tell him what’s going on and how to fix it?”

Kregg: “Yes, that would be a great place to start!”

Ciera: “Ok, I’d love to hear more about what causes this dizziness and how you diagnose and treat it!”

The young woman absorbed all of the information like a sponge. She couldn’t wait to learn more and share her knowledge with clients who call in looking for guidance. 

Booking first patient with dizziness and who has questions about “crystals”

Client: “I’d like to book an appointment with you folks. You see I went to bed two nights ago just fine and woke up on my side and when I turned to my back, the room was spinning. I’ve never experienced it before so I was really scared! My doctor told me I should come here and said something about ‘ear crystals?”

Ciera: “I’m so sorry to hear that you are going through that. I’d love to get you in here as soon as possible so we can take a look and see what’s going on. From there we can give you some guidance and possibly fix you up!”

Client: “You know, I never knew you could go to physiotherapy if you’re feeling dizzy.”

Ciera: “Honestly, I didn’t know either until I started working here! I’m so happy there is something available for people because I can’t imagine the prospect of feeling dizzy and imbalanced for the rest of your life.”

Client: “So, can you tell me a bit about this whole ‘crystal’ business, it sounds a bit hokey to me honestly.”

Ciera: “I absolutely understand; it certainly does sound strange at first! Everyone has “crystals” in their inner ear that tell our brain and our body which way is up, down, here, and there. Naturally, these crystals flake off now and again and settle on the inside of your inner ear, like they should. However, sometimes these crystals take a wrong turn and end up in one of our semi-circular canals. Then with certain movement there is extreme dizziness that usually lasts for up to a couple of minutes.

During your appointment, to put it simply, the therapist will be turning you this way and that way in a specific pattern based on their findings in order to put those crystals back where they should be. These maneuvers will likely cause you to feel dizzy but the goal is to put everything back in place. That was you don’t have to worry about getting dizzy at home anymore when doing normal activities like rolling over in bed or bending over to put on your shoes.

Keep in mind, this is just one vestibular disorder affecting the inner ear, of which there are plenty more. That is why it’s important to have a thorough assessment and treatment with the proper equipment, such as infra red goggles. The signs and symptoms, though unique to each disorder, have only minor differences and it’s key to differentiate between these to provide the appropriate treatment.”

Client: “Wow, that’s a lot to take in, but it seems fascinating. Well, I’m looking forward to finding out what’s going on. Thanks for the help!”

The young woman is delighted that she was able to help someone, at least a bit, even though she couldn’t actually do the diagnosing and treating herself. Who knows what the rest of the day holds – hopefully more questions she can answer, but, even better, ones that she can’t so she has an excuse to learn more!

Until next time …

North 49

If you are experiencing dizziness and would like to be seen by one of our physiotherapists who specialize in vestibular therapy feel free to call North 49 at 306-343-7776 to book a vestibular assessment. You can also book online, at your convenience 24/7.

Click here to find more information about dizziness and our vestibular therapy services.