Effects of nonpharmacological interventions for dizziness in older people: systematic review

Julie C. Kendall, Jan Hartvigsen, Michael F. Azari, Simon D. French*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Nonpharmacological interventions have been shown to have some effectiveness in adults with dizziness; however, the effectiveness of these interventions in older people is unknown. Purpose: The aim of this study was to determine the effects of conservative nonpharmacological interventions for dizziness in older people. Data Sources. The Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, PubMed, EMBASE, SCOPUS, CINAHL, AMED, Index to Chiropractic Literature, PsycINFO, and MANTIS were searched from inception to May 2014. Study Selection: Two investigators independently screened controlled trials with participants who were more than 60 years old and experienced dizziness. Studies of participants with dizziness from a specific diagnosis, such as Me´nie`re disease and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, were excluded. Outcome measures from the selected studies included self-reported dizziness and postural balance. Data Extraction: Two investigators independently extracted data on participants, interventions, comparison group, outcome measures, and results. The risk of bias of the included studies was assessed with Cochrane guidelines. Data Synthesis: Seven articles consisting of 7 controlled trials were included. All studies involved some form of exercise, including vestibular rehabilitation exercises, postural balance exercises, and tai chi exercise, as the main intervention. The studies had a high risk of bias because of the lack of adequate randomization and allocation concealment, the lack of reporting on cointerventions, the lack of reporting on reasons for dropouts, and the lack of reporting on participant adherence. Limitations: Heterogeneity among the included studies in interventions and outcome measures prohibited a meta-analysis. Only 2 studies reported a significant difference between the intervention group and the comparison group for self-reported dizziness. Conclusions: There is insufficient evidence to determine the effectiveness of nonpharmacological treatments for dizziness in older people. Current evidence is hampered by a high risk of bias, and well-designed trials with adequate masking, randomization, and adherence are needed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)641-649
Number of pages9
JournalPhysical Therapy
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2016
Externally publishedYes


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