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Physical Therapy Linked to Drop in Falls for Patients With Dizziness

Receipt of physical therapy within three months of presentation linked to reduced risk for subsequent falls

By Elana Gotkine HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Sept. 15, 2023 (HealthDay News) — For patients presenting with dizziness, receipt of physical therapy (PT) within three months is associated with a reduced risk for subsequent falls, according to a study published online Sept. 14 in JAMA Otolaryngology-Head & Neck Surgery.

Schelomo Marmor, Ph.D., M.P.H., from the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis, and colleagues examined the association between receipt of PT and falls requiring medical care within 12 months of presentation for dizziness in a cross-sectional study involving 805,454 patients aged 18 years or older with a new diagnosis of symptomatic dizziness or vestibular disorders.

The researchers found that 6 percent of the patients received PT within three months of presentation for dizziness and 7 percent experienced a fall resulting in a medical encounter within 12 months of presentation. Women, patients aged 50 to 59 years, and those with more comorbidities (Charlson Comorbidity Index ≥2 versus 0) were least likely to receive PT in adjusted models (adjusted odds ratios, 0.80, 0.67, and 0.71, respectively). There was an association observed for PT service receipt within three months of presentation with a reduced risk for falls, with the greatest risk reduction seen within three months after PT (adjusted odds ratios, 0.14 at three to 12 months versus 0.18 and 0.23 at six to 12 and nine to 12 months, respectively).

“Findings of this cohort study suggest that timely PT referrals are associated with a reduction in risk of falls among adults with varying diagnoses of dizziness,” the authors write.

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