Vestibular rehabilitation (for balance) is often an effective alternative to medication, surgery, or a life of frustration and immobility. Secondary symptoms that result from immobility include loss of range of motion, decreased strength, decreased flexibility, increased tension in neck and shoulder muscles, fatigue, and headaches.
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based treatment approach for patients who experience movement-related dizziness and disequilibrium. These symptoms result from pathology within the vestibular system that diminish a person's quality of life, ability to function at work, and ability to participate in social activities.
Our approach to vestibular deficiency has been shown through well-documented research to facilitate central nervous system compensation or adaptation. A comprehensive assessment by a physical or occupational therapist can identify the types of strategies you use to balance, the integrity of your musculoskeletal system, gait abnormalities, eye/head coordination, and motion perception.
In addition, a careful assessment will help determine how well you use your three senses to maintain balance. Patients diagnosed with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) will be treated with an appropriate repositioning maneuver that is consistent with their pathology.
There are many causes for dizziness, which may or may not include the vestibular system. It is important that patients entering a rehab program have a diagnosis. Generally, referrals will come from otolaryngologists or neurologists who have ruled out underlying pathologies through examination and testing.
After assessment, we develop an individualized exercise program for you to improve postural control and gaze stabilization, and to reduce movement or positional dizziness. You may also be instructed in relaxation exercises to reduce muscle tension and fatigue.
You’ll also begin a physical conditioning program to improve endurance and increase mobility. Fitness activities include walking, biking, swimming, and rowing. It is essential that you continue some kind of physical activity on an ongoing basis as a life-long practice.
Education is extremely important to help you understand the cause of your symptoms and how to manage them.
Vestibular rehabilitation uses a daily home exercise program. In addition to your home exercises, you may be seen in the department one to two times a week for progression and modification of exercises.