Vestibular Rehabilitation

Many parts of your body, your eyes, brain, ears and nerves in your feet and spine work together to keep you balanced. When one system is not working as effectively as it should you can feel off balance, unsteady, and dizzy. The environment may feel like it’s moving around you or you may feel like you’re moving in your environment.  You may feel floaty, spinney, lightheaded or nauseous which can also be accompanied with vision changes like blurry vision, trouble reading, focusing or difficulty concentrating. Sometimes, the feeling you are experiencing is difficult to describe and many people fear that they won’t be taken seriously.

Did you know that we may be able to help?

There is a growing body of scientific evidence supporting physiotherapy treatment for vestibular dysfunction.  It’s called Vestibular Rehabilitation therapy.  

Vestibular Rehabilitation therapy is an exercise based technique used to reduce the symptoms you are experiencing and help you return to your daily activities. A custom exercise program tailored to your specific needs is generally more effective than a generic protocol (Whitney, 2016). Various balance exercises are used, which may incorporate head, eye and body movements to help us improve your symptoms. Improving your balance and eye focus, while reducing vertigo/dizziness while returning to the activities you love are the main goals of vestibular rehabilitation.

In the case where your dizziness is caused by free floating calcium carbonate in your inner ear, commonly referred to as “crystals”, specific repositioning maneuvers are used to help eliminate your dizziness. If this is the cause of your dizziness you should only need 1-3 treatments before your symptoms completely resolve. Unfortunately, this condition can re-occur over time however, proper treatment is very effective and can significantly help manage your symptoms.

Feel free to contact us if you have further questions as we would love to help.

About the Author:

Candice Bannister ,PT, MClSc, FCAMPT

Share on Facebook

Vertigo is a specific kind of dizziness. It is described as a spinning sensation, it can either present itself with a sensation that you are spinning or that the room is spinning around you. It is a symptom of disturbance in the vestibular system. It can be accompanied with other symptoms such as nausea and light headedness.
The most common cause of vertigo is BPPV- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. It is a condition characterised by some episodes of sudden and severe spinning (vertigo) when you move your head in certain directions. The common triggers of the symptoms include bending forward, changing position in bed (rolling over), getting up from lying down or sitting.

There is no known cause for these symptoms, it can occur for a few days or linger a few weeks. It can disappear for a period of time and then start again with no specific incident or explanation. It can also appear post trauma to the head.

BPPV is causes by particles (crystals) within the balance system in our inner ear. Usually it only affect one ear, but can occasionally be both sides. Although BPPV is the most common cause of dizziness (vertigo) other conditions can cause this as well: Meniere’s disease, neck joint dysfunction, vestibular migraine and acoustic neuroma.
In physiotherapy we can retrain the vestibular system with eye-vestibular exercises. We can also treat BPPV with great success. After assessing and confirming BPPV diagnosis, the treatments consist of specific techniques of movement of the body and head in specific positions to help relocate the crystals in the inner ear where you no longer get the dizziness and vertigo. Most patient recover in 1-3 sessions.

Share on Facebook