Specializing in dizziness, tinnitus, musculoskeletal problems and more...
I am not exaggerating when I say that it can be a difficult task to explain your symptoms. How do you tell your health practitioner exactly what happened or how you feel? This is especially the case with dizziness related problems.
Dizziness means different things to different people.
Still to come...
Still to come...
If you have a spinning sensation in your head that gets suddenly provoked when you change positions, and when the real spinning last between 5 and 15 seconds, then you may have a BPPV.
Typically you will notice this when you look up or down or roll over to one side in bed.
It's 3 a.m., and you suddenly wake up and notice a beep in one of your ears. Nervously you get out of bed, walk to the kitchen, drink a glass of water and wait for this annoying sound to diminish. Tinnitus (or in French: acouphène) is often experienced as something scary and intrusive. It's understandable because out of nowhere; there is suddenly a sound in your head that was not there before. And it's not in your imagination.
So what is going on here?
Musculoskeletal conditions comprise more than 150 diagnoses that affect the locomotor system; that is, muscles, bones, joints and associated tissues such as tendons and ligaments, as listed in the International Classification of Diseases. They range from those that arise suddenly and are short-lived, such as fractures, sprains and strains, to lifelong conditions associated with ongoing pain and disability.
Hi, I am Maurice, and welcome to the website of 'Starke Physiothérapie'. I'm a registered physiotherapist based in the Riviera region of Switzerland. With the gorgeous Lac Léman just around the corner, I'm glad to be able to work independently since June 2020, here in la Tour-de-Peilz. Over the years, I got more and more involved in the treatment of vestibular patients. If you want to know more about my journey from Eindhoven, The Netherlands, to Montreux, then please read on.
In June 2002, after some intense and joyful years of studying, I graduated from Fontys University Eindhoven in the Netherlands, with a bachelor in Physiotherapy. After graduation, I wanted to travel and explore different countries. Still, in order to gain some work experience, I first decided to take up some job in a private praxis or hospital close to my hometown.
A train ticket to Switzerland
However, since finding a steady job in the saturated Dutch job market was tricky and the lure of going abroad became more substantial, I bought myself in September 2002 a train ticket to Switzerland, to check out this job offer in Sirnach. A little village in the canton of Thurgau, surrounded by hills, filled up with farmlands and apple trees. It turned out that life had other plans for me than growing old in The Netherlands. I started my career in the green hills of Switzerland. It was a big challenge to begin my professional career abroad and to have to deal with the Swiss German dialect. The first months I got by with a self-invented mix of German and Dutch dialects, which to my ears sounded quite similar.
A physio praxis of professionals and pals
Besides a tough first week, where I survived a cultural shock and a new way of living, I felt quite at home in 'Physiotherapie Sirnach'. It really helped to have some fellow Dutchmen around, who were besides colleagues also great friends. It was a group of like-minded physiotherapists that were curious about the job and keen about improving their healthcare skills. What more can you wish for? Curiosity is important to me, and together we explored all of the facets of physiotherapy.
Learning is for life
I got very interested in everything related to chronic pain and how the mind plays a role in this. One day, when I received a French pilot in the clinic with dizziness problems, I found out how diverse our profession is. It was a diagnosis that I didn't even consider as being eligible for physiotherapy. I'm afraid my knowledge of this special area wasn't up to standards yet, but my curiosity got tickled. I started reading and taking different courses to understand this multifactorial problem. Every class and book answered some questions but also raised new ones regarding the management of vestibular issues. That’s when I discovered that learning is for life.
I was running up that hill
My Sirnach years were truly exceptional, not only in the field of physiotherapy but as well regarding my personal life. As someone coming from a flat country, I developed an unconditional love for the Swiss mountains. The day I arrived in Sirnach, I remember clearly how ‘I just felt like running up that hill’. I don't want to sound too much like the secret child of Kate Bush and Forrest Gump here, but it was a new sensation for me to be in the middle of nowhere, this feeling of being out in the wild. Something that I had never experienced in The Netherlands. This Swiss miniature wilderness, with its cute villages and echoes of cowbells all through the mountains and valleys, gives me both relaxation and a sense of adventure.
A new Swiss adventure
After four years in Sirnach, it was time for a change, and I was ready to discover more of my new country. Consequently, I took the train, crossed the 'Röstigraben,' and arrived in an unbelievably unique setting. A region with an ever-mood-changing lake, hills decorated with breathtaking rows of vines and picturesque villages. I ended up in the ‘Lavaux’ area. Wandering in this area felt like stepping back in time, into an atmosphere that reminded me a bit of these old happy cartoons where two chirping birds are circling you and wine growers are dancing hand in hand. I must admit that I wore a set of pretty rose-coloured glasses in those days.
Learning the language
In Switzerland, changing from one canton to another is practically like moving to another country. You have to take care of all the paperwork and permits, familiarize yourself with different customs and, of course, learn a new language. With the help of books, music, movies and conversations with strangers in the street, I acquired a decent level of French. Language is such an essential part of physiotherapy treatment because it’s only through clear communication that we can set goals and achieve satisfactory outcomes.
A job and projects... many projects
I was delighted to find a job in la Tour-de-Peilz at the Comeback physiotherapy centre. Besides working long hours, improving my French, doing all kinds of sport, I also studied a lot. In June 2008, I finished my education as a 'European Sports Physiotherapist'. In the following years, I continued being involved in many projects, in and outside work. I wanted to experience a lot, do everything myself, and became on many levels a perfectionist. I placed the bar very high… Then, in 2012 it all got too much for me, and I ended up having a burnout.
Recovering from burnout
It was a tough time, but I learned many valuable lessons during that period. I think your body and mind tell you clearly when you are not on the right track. In those days, I had spells of dizziness and developed two different types of tinnitus. My head felt so full of sounds and thoughts and, at the same time, I had this empty, helpless feeling... It’s not that I liked a single bit of what happened to me, but having experienced these symptoms helps me today to understand what some of my patients are going through. And even better, I realised that it all happened for some reason. Going through this was the beginning of something new and extraordinary. It was something that pushed me into the right direction.
I looked closely into myself with the help of mindfulness meditation, something that helped me to feel myself again. I read lots of literature to understand what was going on with me, if anyone felt the same. There were other ways of looking at life and I started to feel a certain calmness in me. My mind wasn’t overflowing with thoughts anymore, I had some free space in my head again.
A decision that reinforced this calm mindset, was the purchase of a professional camera. I learned the basic photography rules, spent hours and hours by the lake, and soon photography became my new passion. It was almost symbolic for finding and accepting my new self. Taking pictures was a form of mindfulness as well, by looking from different angles I could see my familiar environment in a new way. Progressively my energy levels started to increase, and I felt like hiking and cycling again. The tinnitus changed, down to a level where it stopped bothering me, and eventually, it disappeared completely.
Keep on learning for better future treatment
In the following years, partly because of my own experiences, I have been doing a lot of self-study in the field of vestibular problems and tinnitus. I had the pleasure to follow classes with some of the finest teachers of vestibular rehabilitation, Susan Herdman, Neil Shepard and Richard Clendaniel. For a few years now, I have been working closely with an ear, nose and throat doctor (ENT), which helped me to improve my treatments through better exchange of information and better communication.
Every day there is something new to learn, so I am delighted with all the feedback that I can get. Science makes continuous progress, so I try to keep up to date with the newest developments in physiotherapy and otoneurology.
There is always more to tell. In this biography, I decided to share some of my personal experiences as they might sound familiar and therefore, possibly helpful. But if you want to know more about dizziness and tinnitus, then please refer to the 'treatments' and ‘resources’ sections on this website.
If you have any further questions, please feel free to contact me.