Published on February 10, 2022

Tinley Park Woman Standing Strong Again Following Treatments for Vertigo at Silver Cross Hospital

Early last summer, Chris Burtner started feeling off-balance, to the point she felt like she needed to hang on to a wall or a chair to remain stable. 

Chris Burtner
Chris Burtner of Tinley Park witnessed immediate relief after receiving treatment for vertigo at the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox.

“When I went outside to the garden, I brought my cane so I could keep my balance,” said the Tinley Park retiree. “It just sort of came on.” 

When she couldn’t shake it, Burtner’s daughter drove her to the Urgent Care Center at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. They were concerned she might be having a stroke, so they sent her to the Emergency Department at Silver Cross on the same campus. 

There, Burtner said, staff ran a battery of tests, including an MRI, and found no signs of a stroke or any other major issues. It was then they were pretty sure the former nurse’s aide and school bus driver was suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), a common cause of vertigo. 

Burtner was referred to the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab at Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox. Silver Cross and the Shirley Ryan AbilityLab partnered to expand post-acute physical medicine and rehabilitation services in Will County. This partnership designates Silver Cross as the only healthcare facility in the area with this breadth of services to treat a broad range of conditions, BPPV among them. 

Therapist Vijay Francis said BPPV, which presents a false sensation of spinning, also known as vertigo, occurs when crystals embedded in the gel in the inner ear become dislodged and migrate to one of the three canals in the ear. 

“Those crystals tell the brain which way you’re moving,” Francis said. “lf they get out of position, that’s what causes the sensation of spinning.” 

The key, then, Francis said, is to get those crystals back in the areas where they belong. So, the first thing he did for Burtner was to determine where the crystals landed by moving her head and body in different positions and watching how her eyes moved in relation. 

“He had me stand up and sit down, and moved my head from side to side,” Burtner said. “Then he had me lie down and manipulated my head. 

“I felt better even before I left. I went back for a follow-up and still felt great. Vijay was very nice.” 

Francis said sometimes people who suffer from BPPV can get relief from one or two treatments; sometimes it may take more. 

Burtner said she was fine until August, when it happened again. But she felt better after another treatment and still does. 

If people have dizziness, Francis cautioned, they should not immediately assume it is BPPV, but call their doctor or visit an emergency department right away. 

“The same symptoms can come from many different causes, including stroke, migraine or cardiac issues.” 

“I hadn’t had any medical issues before this,” Burtner said. “It was just one of those things. But Vijay was wonderful.”

Physicians on Silver Cross Hospital’s Medical Staff have expertise in their areas of practice to meet the needs of patients seeking their care. These physicians are independent practitioners on the Medical Staff and are not the agents or employees of Silver Cross Hospital. They treat patients based upon their independent medical judgment and they bill patients separately for their services.