PHYSICAL THERAPY FOR VESTIBULAR DISORDERS

The vestibular system is what is known as the human balance system.  It is located in the inner ear and is comprised of three canals.  This system is critical for our sense of balance, body position, and detecting motion and positioning of the head.  For example, it is the system we use to balance on a balance beam, to focus on objects after a quick head movement, or to maintain awareness of your positioning if you were to move your head to the side or go upside-down.  Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is a form of physical therapy that is intended to alleviate issues caused by vestibular disorders.  These rehabilitation programs are primarily exercise based and intended to reduce symptoms that come with vestibular disorders. 

Commonly diagnosed vestibular disorders are:

  • Vertigo – Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

  • Labyrinthitis or Vestibular Neuritis

  • Meniere’s disease

  • Autoimmune inner ear disease

  • Age-related dizziness and imbalance

  • Concussions

If you have a vestibular disorder, you may exhibit symptoms such as:

  • Loss of balance or dizziness

  • Vertigo or the sense that the room around you is spinning

  • Audio/visual disturbances

  • Tinnitus

  • Migraines

  • Cognitive Changes

  • Difficulty walking

  • Difficulty with coordination

VRT was designed to help with:

  • Balance while standing, walking, bending, reaching, and turning

  • The ability to walk on uneven ground or in the dark

  • Visual and somatosensory cues

  • Coordinated movement strategies (using fingers and arm at the same time to throw a ball, or the coordination of head and arm movements when eating or drinking)

  • Stationary positions and dynamic movements (movements that go through the full range of motion)

 

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