Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
Vestibular rehab is a type of physical therapy that uses exercises to reduce problems caused by dizziness. Dizziness is often described as feeling weak, faint, woozy or unsteady. Although, if you feel you are spinning, that is vertigo, not dizziness. Dizzy spells can occur when you are standing still, lying down, or changing positions. They can be constant or they may come and go. Episodes of dizziness or vertigo can pass in a few seconds or minutes, or last for hours.
What causes dizziness?
While dizziness is a common problem for people over the age of 75, it can occur at any age. It can be a side effect of medication, or a simple inner ear issue. While it is not often serious, it can be a sign of a deeper issue such as a heart problem.
Doctors refer patients for vestibular rehab after a diagnosis like Meniere’s syndrome, migraines, or BPPV*. Some will refer those who have suffered a stroke or brain injury. Other reasons include frequent dizziness or vertigo, balance problems, neck-related dizziness, or those who are at a high risk for falls.
- Dizziness or blurred vision when you move your head
- Neck tightness, stiffness, or pain
- Balance problems
- Frequent falls
- General feelings of dizziness or wooziness
During your first visit, a therapist will review your symptoms and medical history. They will also check:
- Leg strength and flexibility
- Visual stability
- Neck mobility
- Positional testing
- Shoulder and arm strength
Your therapist will create a plan of care that includes specific exercises that involve head movement. Head movement is the key to retraining the vestibular system, which resides in the inner ear. After discharge from therapy, balance and dizziness issues can continue to improve, or disappear completely, if you continue to do your exercises at home.
*BPPV is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
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