Vestibular and balance rehabilitation is a form of physical therapy designed to treat disorders of the inner ear and/or central nervous system. Common symptoms associated with these disorders include; dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness, postural instability, motion sickness, gait (walking) abnormalities, sensation of tilting, frequent falls or near falls and oscillopsia (jumping of vision).
There are many types of disorders which can cause the above symptoms. Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), unilateral or bilateral vestibular hypofunction and Meniere’s disease are all disorders affecting the inner ear. Central disorders including: Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, traumatic brain injury, concussion, stroke, etc. There are also other causes of dizziness and balance problems such as cervicogenic dizziness (stemming from the cervical spine), migraine, anxiety, disuse disequilibrium and side effects from medications.
Vestibular and balance rehab can significantly decrease and/or eliminate the above symptoms and return patients to higher levels of function. When attending a session, you will be evaluated by a physical therapist that has specialized training in treating these disorders. Once a treatment plan is developed, you will work one on one with the therapist in order to achieve your goals. The therapy works by teaching vestibular compensation exercises, resetting calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear which have dislodged, improving postural stability, improving visual tracking and/or gait training depending on the deficits found.