Vestibular Therapy

Who Can Benefit From Vestibular Therapy?

Individuals who frequently have complaints of dizziness or imbalance may have a vestibular disorder and could benefit from vestibular rehabilitation.

The vestibular system is the part of the inner ear and the brain that controls balance and eye movement.

In addition, people with vestibular disorders often experience secondary symptoms which can also benefit from rehabilitation. Some of the secondary symptoms include:

  • Headaches
  • Muscular aches in the neck and back
  • Motion sickness
  • Increased sensitivity to noise and bright lights
  • Fatigue

What Occurs During Vestibular Therapy?

An extensive evaluation will be performed by a licenses physical therapist or occupational therapist trained in the treatment of vestibular disorders to determine the appropriate plan of care.

Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based approach, which incorporates specific exercises to improve:

  1. Balance
  2. Postural control
  3. Eye-head coordination
  4. Fitness level while reducing vertigo

Compensatory techniques are taught to be performed during activities of daily living at home, work, and in the community.

Education for central nervous system (CNS) compensation for the vestibular pathology is the first step in allowing the patient to manage symptoms.

Vestibular therapy is an important part of the treatment of vestibular disorders. Each case is treated on an individual basis, taking into account a person’s medical condition, lifestyle, and individual needs.

What are Some Of the Causes of Vestibular Disorders?

  • Blows to the head and whiplash injuries are frequent causes of vestibular disorders in people under the age of 50.
  • Ear infections such as otitis media and inflammation of the inner ear (labrinthitis) may result in damage to the vestibular and hearing structures of the inner ear. High doses or long term use of certain antibiotics can cause permanent damage of the inner ear.
  • If blood flow to the inner ear or brain is reduced or blocked (as in the case of a stroke), damage to the vestibular system may result. An acoustic neuroma is a slow growing tumor in the nerve from the inner ear to the brain that may interfere with normal function.

Finally, some vestibular disorder causes remain unknown.

How can referrals be made?

Physician referral is required.