The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. If disease or injury damages these processing areas, then vestibular disorders can result which will need vestibular rehabilitation. When the vestibular system is damaged, the brain can no longer rely on it for accurate information about equilibrium and motion, often resulting in dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems.
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based therapy program that can help eliminate or significantly reduce an individual’s symptoms. A vestibular rehabilitation program is designed to decrease an individual’s dizziness and visual symptoms, as well as increase their balance and walking functions, which will ultimately increase the individual’s general activity level.
Common causes of vestibular dysfunction include:
Migraine related dizziness
Post Concussive Syndrome/Head Trauma
Ototoxicity (ex. Gentamicin toxicity)
Mal de Debarquement Syndrome
Therapy may include:
Exercises for coordinating eyes and head movements
Performing habituation exercises to desensitize the vestibular system
Canalith repositioning techniques for BPPV
Exercises to improve balance and walking ability
At your appointment, your physical therapist will need to evaluate your specific condition and symptoms and review your medical history. Your assessment may include the following or part of the following:
Flexibility and Strength
Gait (how you walk)
Neck flexibility and mobility
Arm strength and flexibility
Based on the what your physical therapy finds during the evaluation, a specific plan of care will be developed. The ultimate goal of your treatment is to improve any deficits that were identified during the evaluation. This will improve your ability to function in everyday activities and also reduce the risk of falling.