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J Man Manip Ther. 2010 Sep;18(3):159-65. doi: 10.1179/106698110X12640740712491.

Differential diagnosis and management of a patient with peripheral vestibular and central nervous system disorders: a case study.

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1
Department of Physical Therapy, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, USA.

Abstract

BACKGROUND:

Clinical examination and management of patients with meningiomas is primarily dependent upon appropriate diagnosis of tumor type and surgical intervention. Physical therapists should be able to identify patients presenting with signs and symptoms suggestive of potential central nervous system (CNS) disorders and refer the patient appropriately.

PATIENT CHARACTERISTICS:

In this case report, a 52-year-old female was referred to physical therapy after 18 months of unresolved dizziness.

EXAMINATION:

Oculomotor examination revealed evidence of peripheral vestibular and potential CNS disorders. The physical therapist referred the patient to a physician who ordered magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).

INTERVENTION:

The patient received five physical therapy sessions while waiting for the MRI which revealed a meningioma. The meningioma was surgically removed and the patient was subsequently relieved of all symptoms.

OUTCOMES:

Despite the presence of the meningioma, the patient reported improved stability during work-related activities and decreased dizziness as a result of physical therapy intervention pre-operatively.

DISCUSSION:

This case report emphasizes the importance of a physical therapists ability to perform and interpret an oculomotor examination in a patient presenting with signs consistent with peripheral vestibular and CNS disorders. It also demonstrates the role of physical therapy in collaboration with physicians in order to provide appropriate patient care management.

KEYWORDS:

Differential diagnosis; Meningioma; Physical therapy; Vestibular rehabilitation

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