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pots Services

Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome has a wide array of symptoms that can leave patients and doctors alike searching for answers. Our team combines the best available clinic knowledge with professional and personal experience to optimize your care.

A woman sitting cross legged with her head resting gently in her hands next to a lake

What is POTS?

POTS is a complex neuro-cardiovascular disorder which is sometimes also called dysautonomia or vasovagal dysfunction. The simplest way to describe POTS is that your body sends blood to the wrong places at the wrong times. This can result in a wide range of symptoms affecting multiple body systems depending on which tissues are not getting enough blood. Symptoms can include:

  • Dizziness/fainting

  • Fluctuations in blood pressure

  • Fast heart rate 

  • Heart palpitations

  • Fatigue

  • Exercise intolerance

  • Gastrointestinal problems

  • Nausea

  • Anxiety

  • Shaking/tremors

  • Headaches

  • Brain fog

  • Sweating

  • Swelling

  • Skin color changes (pale/red/purple)

Personal Journey

     Heather was diagnosed with POTS at 19 after lots of dizziness and a couple episodes of passing out. The neurologist told her just to eat more salt, drink more water, and start taking birth control pills. While she stopped passing out, she still struggled with swelling, dizziness, fatigue, and cardiovascular exercise intolerance.

     A year later, Heather's mom developed migraines that were only improved by laying down despite trying medications and PT. She was lying down for 22 hours a day and misdiagnosed with cerebrospinal fluid leaks for over a year before travelling to John Hopkins for a second opinion and receiving a POTS diagnosis despite the fact she was never dizzy, and older than the typical POTS patient.  

     More than a decade later things look a lot different. Heather finished PT school and set out to learn and study what she could about how exercise affects POTS with goals of staying off medication, working full time as a PT, and being active with family. Along the way, she's learned lots of little tricks to manage her symptoms. Her mom is up and about crafting away, and walking her dog. She still has an occasional migraine, but is not limited by her POTS on a daily basis.

     Heather now hopes to help other people on their journey to living a full and healthy life with POTS, despite the fact that every case looks different.

Why PT?

     Physical therapy may not come to mind first when it comes to addressing POTS, but we can be a valuable part of your team. Physical therapists are used to working with the whole body instead of just one system like many specialists. This can be an advantage when working to improve a condition that affects multiple parts of the body.

     Physical therapists regularly work with patients that have both neurological and cardiovascular problems, as well as those with exercise intolerance, headaches, dizziness, and gastrointestinal issues.

     PTs are trained to prescribe exercise like your doctor prescribes medication. The right kind and the right dose matters.

     Our staff works hard to stay up on the most recent research available on POTS. While we have years of experience treating individuals with POTS, our commitment to providing quality care is more than professional, for us it's personal. 

What to Expect

     Your physical therapist will first ask about your symptoms and take a detailed history. This will likely take some time because POTS is so complex. We schedule 60-minute evaluations because we strongly feel the 15 minutes of time you typically get with other doctors is not enough. After taking time to understand your condition and goals for therapy, your therapist will then assess how your cardiovascular system responds to position changes and exercise. We will work with you to develop a personalized exercise and education plan tailored to your individual needs. 

     We will also work to help you find other specialists for your team who are not intimidated by working with POTS if you need other specialty care or testing.

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