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  1. Wahlgren, Amy PT, DPT, MSBS
  2. Palombaro, Kerstin PT, PhD, CAPS


Background and Purpose: The model provided by the World Health Organization's International Classification of Functioning, Disability, and Health (ICF) was created to describe, classify, and measure function in both health care practice and research. This model has not been applied to management of many physical therapy cases, limiting its implementation conceptually into practice as a whole. The purpose of this case report is to illustrate the use of the ICF model in the evidence-based management of posterior canal benign paroxysmal positional vertigo.


Case Description: One patient with acute posterior canal canalithiasis benign paroxysmal positional vertigo was treated using the evidence-based clinical practice guideline for the diagnosis as well as the ICF framework.


Interventions: Repositioning maneuvers and education were provided to ameliorate the relevant body structure and function impairments, activity limitations, and contextual factors related to the patient's overall functioning and disability.


Outcomes: The patient demonstrated complete abolishment of her symptoms, both objectively and subjectively after 3 sessions over 4 weeks of care.


Discussion: The physical therapy community has adopted the framework of the ICF because this model has been found to be effective in illustrating the impact of a patient's functional impairments in terms of activity limitations as well as the role that personal and environmental factors play in the patient's overall functioning and disability. When using the ICF in tandem with evidence-based care, patient outcomes have the capability to improve at an even greater rate; however, further research should be completed to discover this potential effect with appropriately designed clinical trials.