Dizziness and Parkinson’s

Shelley Hockensmith Bio Photo 7.9.20

Speaker: Shelley Hockensmith, PT,
Board Certified Neurologic Specialist
October 21, 2020
4:30 - 6:00PM

Dizziness is a commonly reported symptom by people with Parkinson's disease. It is important to determine the source in order to treat the dizziness. Shelley will provide information about different types and sources of dizziness, the inner ear’s role in balance, and physical therapy’s role using vestibular rehabilitation.

Previously Recorded Wellness Series

Wellness Series Summary: Dizziness and Parkinson’s on 10/21/20 with Shelley Hockensmith, PT, Board Certified Neurologic Specialist 

Below is a summary of the presentation 

What is dizziness? 

Dizziness can be categorized as 

  1. Vertigo 
  1. Lightheadedness 
  1. Disequilibrium  


  • Feeling as if you are spinning or the room is spinning around you 
  • Usually triggered by a change of head position such as rolling over in bed 
  • May be accompanied by nausea and abnormal eye movements 
  • Common causes include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular neuritis 
  • Treatments include vestibular rehabilitation from a physical therapist or other trained professional  


  • Feeling faint as if you might pass out 
  • In people with PD, it is often caused by orthostatic hypotension (a large drop in blood pressure) with standing up from a chair or sitting up from lying down 
  • Recommendations include staying hydrated, taking your time with transitions, and speaking with your physician 


  • Feeling unsteady and imbalanced  
  • In people with PD, it may be caused by changes in posture and postural stability 
  • Recommendations include improving your posture and balance 

What is balance? 

Balance depends on input from 3 systems 

  1. Visual 
  1. Vestibular 
  1. Somatosensation 



  • We use our eyes to give our brain feedback about where we are 
  • To begin, focus on a target 
  • To challenge your balance, close your eyes 


  • Organs in your inner ear tell your brain about changes in head position and movement 
  • To begin, keep your head still 
  • To challenge your balance, turn your head side to side or up and down 


  • Sensors in your muscles, tendons, and joints that tell you if you are standing on a solid surface, incline, or uneven surface 
  • To begin, stand on a flat, stable surface 
  • To challenge your balance, stand on an uneven or soft surface  


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