Vertigo, general dizziness, balance problems, frequent falls, nausea, feeling light-headed, motion sickness: what do all these things have in common? They are all symptoms that may be associated with a vestibular (inner ear) disorder.
There are many possible causes of dizziness, but a large percentage of cases are caused by dysfunction of the vestibular system. Damage to our inner ear affects the nerve signals being communicated to the brain, often impacting a patient's sense of balance, motion, and space.
Vestibular therapy services are offered at all of our outpatient clinics, where there is always a therapist on-site who specializes in vestibular therapy techniques. Each therapy program is dictated by an initial evaluation, and our team is highly skilled at providing quality care and symptom relief to patients of all ages.
Conditions Treated by Vestibular Therapy
- Vestibular dysfunction – unilateral, bilateral, central
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
- Vestibular migraines
- General dizziness
- Meniere's disease
What Can I Expect in Vestibular Therapy?
Because each person's symptoms will be different, therapy is specifically designed to meet each individual's needs. Much of vestibular therapy includes exercise-based, manual techniques to correct abnormalities and provide relief from symptoms.
Our physical therapists are able to help patients:
- Decrease the frequency, intensity, or duration of their vertigo or dizziness
- Improve balance
- Increase functional independence
- Decrease side effects like headaches, nausea, light-headedness, etc.
- Develop compensatory strategies to cope with dizziness, disequilibrium, and anxiety
Many vestibular patients are reassured by the techniques and treatments prescribed by their physical therapists. It can be comforting to know that these disorienting symptoms are able to be treated quickly by therapists, in a painless and noninvasive manner.
Techniques like Epley's maneuver are specific, strategic movements of the head and upper body that can be used to prevent dizziness. Often used in BPPV patients, vertigo and dizziness can sometimes be corrected in 2-3 therapy sessions when performed successfully.
Oculomotor (Eye) Exercises
Supervised movement of the head and eyes can improve a patient's tolerance to motion. Gaze stabilization exercises can help people maintain optimal vision while their head is moving.
Functional Training and Balance Exercises
These types of exercises improve function of the vestibular system, while addressing balance loss. Balance training includes movement while standing still (static) as well as dynamic gait training.