Common symptoms of a vestibular disorder include dizziness, vertigo and imbalance. Patients may also experience nausea, hearing changes, anxiety, fatigue and trouble concentrating. Conditions which may cause vertigo, dizziness and/or imbalance include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Vestibular neuritis
- Menieres disease
- Acoustic neuroma
- Perilymph fistula
- Inner ear concussion syndrome
- Traumatic brain injury
- Post- concussion syndrome
What is Dizziness?
A sensation of lightheadedness, faintness, or unsteadiness. No rotational component is present.
What is Vertigo?
A sensation of rotation and/or spinning. Vertigo is the perception of movement of self or surrounding objects.
What Is Disequilibrium?
Unsteadiness, imbalance or loss of equilibrium.
What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?
If you are suffering from one of the conditions above, vestibular rehabilitation may help. Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise based approach to promote central nervous system compensation for inner ear and balance deficits.
What to expect during vestibular rehabilitation:
At your first visit, a comprehensive evaluation will be performed by a therapist who has received training in vestibular rehabilitation. The evaluation will include an occulomotor exam, assessment of cervical spine, general strength and mobility testing, assessment of balance and positional testing for evaluation of vertigo and associated symptoms.
Assessment of balance may also include use of our Biodex technology. The Biodex Balance System SD allows therapists to assess balance deficits for a wide range of patient diagnoses. This device tests and provides objective data, via a computerized platform, for numerous components of balance including weight bearing, weight shifting, limits of stability and postural control. Therapists also have the capability to perform fall risk screening.
Frequency: Patients are typically treated 2-3 times a week and are given a personalized home exercise program.
Habituation: Specific movements/positions the patient’s dizziness. The patient repeats movements until the brain habituates or adapts to the conflicting information.
Visual Motor: If dysfunction is identified between the eyes and inner ear, visual motor exercises are performed to improve gaze stabilization.
Canalith Repositioning: A sequence of movements performed to move “ear crystals” or otoconia through semicircular canal to the proper place in the inner ear.
Balance Training: Activities to improve coordination of muscle responses. Balance retraining also works to organize sensory information from eyes, ears and muscle receptors for balance.
Biodex Balance System SD: This device assists therapists in creating an individualized program based on objective results of testing performed on the Biodex. Training programs performed on the device provide valuable information which can be compared throughout the course of the patient’s rehab to monitor progress.
Non Vestibular causes of dizziness and imbalance: Dizziness may be caused by uncontrolled or fluctuating blood pressure, heart conditions or arrhythmia, cervicogenic based, medication or related to central nervous system injury such as a stroke. Imbalance may be a result of neuropathy, visual deficits, age related changes or musculoskeletal sources such as arthritis or decreased strength.
Even if it is not vertigo or inner ear dysfunction, physical therapy CAN help: Based on your symptoms and findings during the evaluation, an individualized treatment plan will be developed to address impairments.
For additional details on vestibular disorders: www.vestibular.org