What is Vestibular Physiotherapy
Vestibular Therapy is an evidence-based treatment for inner ear and balance disorders. In fact, there are many different types of inner ear problems that can develop. Each problem is approached differently. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy can involve repositioning movements, eye exercises, inner ear exercises, head and body movement exercises, and balance exercises.
Physiotherapy for vestibular rehab is mainly exercise-based. It is often used to bring on symptoms. This is so that your brain is forced to adapt to whatever problems you are experiencing. In some cases, a repositioning movement may be able to help your dizziness quickly. However, in other cases, you may need to complete a consistent home program for months. Therefore everyone’s program is different. We will guide you every step of the way.
What to expect during vestibular physiotherapy
- We will ask for a detailed history of your condition
- You will be screening for serious causes of your symptoms
- There will be an assessment of your neck
- Your eye movements and inner ear function will be assessed.
- We’ll see how you do with balancing in a ‘balance assessment’
- We will assess your sensitivity to motion or position changes
How to prepare for vestibular therapy assessments
- Make sure you take any medications that help with dizziness before coming. We will still be able to get all the information we need.
- If you experience nausea, don’t eat a large meal before coming. If your doctor says it is safe to take Gravol then please take it before coming.
- If possible, we recommend someone drive you to your first appointment.
- The initial assessment will often bring on symptoms. Depending on how severe they are, it’s sometimes best to take the rest of the day off to give yourself lots of time to rest.
Treatments for Vestibular Therapy
Repositioning Maneuvers (for BPPV)
These are very specific movements meant to treat a condition called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). The maneuvers help to move crystals out of a canal that they can get stuck in. This causes strong vertigo with head movements.
Gaze Stabilizations Exercises
Eye exercises meant to help focus your vision during head movements.
These consist of exercises that are meant to help your brain adapt to movements that cause dizziness. By reproducing these movements repeatedly as exercises, your brain develops ways to get through them without experiencing symptoms.
Our sense of balance comes from input from several systems sending information to our brain. Balance exercises can come in many forms. Targeting the systems you need to work on the most will give you the best results.
Your neck plays an important role in balance and coordinating eye movements. Manual therapy, soft tissue techniques, and exercise are all effective ways to treat neck dysfunction with physiotherapy.