Vestibular Rehab & Balance Retraining
A comprehensive program for the evaluation and treatment of dizziness and balance disorders.
Are you dizzy?
Spinning around, getting disoriented and falling down may be fun for children but it can be debilitating to the adult whose life, work and safety are affected by dizziness or a fear of falling.
A Wide Range of Causes
Any number of underlying problems may cause dizziness. Some are more serious than others, but all may leave the sufferer feeling miserable and oftentimes scared.
- Inner ear infections or disorders
- Side effects from medication
- Head injury or concussion
- Blood pressure changes
- Heart problems
- Cervical neck problems
- Neurological disorders
Diagnosis & Treatment
Treatment for dizziness and imbalance varies according to the diagnosis and is unique for each individual. What works in one case could actually make matters worse in another. Therefore, anyone troubled by dizziness or imbalance should consult a physician. Once diagnosed, treatment may consist of medication, changes in diet or lifestyle, or other medical interventions. When appropriate, a physical therapy referral is ordered by your physician.
Physical Therapy Evaluation
This evaluation consists of a musculoskeletal examination and balance assessment, followed by tests to determine how head movement and changes in body position affect symptoms of dizziness. From this information, an appropriate rehab treatment approach if formulated.
Since eye movements can provide important clues about the cause of a person’s dizziness, special “video goggles” may be used to videotape the eyes during testing or treatment.
The Vestibular System
Our balance is controlled by the vestibular system which consists of two areas – the inner ear and the brain.
Motion sensors in the inner ears (both right and left sides) send information to the brain about your head movement and its relative position in space. The brain responds by sending information to the various muscles that help maintain your balance.
Normally, both the right and left sides of your vestibular system work in perfect harmony. However, a disturbance on either side, such as an inner ear infection, can cause an imbalance resulting in dizziness, nausea, blurred vision and/or balance problems.
With special exercises, our central nervous system can often compensate and become desensitized to vestibular imbalance, resulting in significantly decreased dizziness. For example, with enough practice a figure skater can spin around rapidly and then skate away gracefully in a straight line – with no dizziness!
Based on evaluation findings, specific exercises are carefully chosen and purposely designed to stimulate the vestibular system and speed up this desensitization process. With practice and persistence, these exercises lead to a decrease in symptoms.
Regular home exercises, as prescribed by the physical therapist, are critical to resolving dizziness and balance disorders.
The Vestibular Disorders Association (VEDA) has an excellent website – www.vestibular.org – that provides information on everything from the causes of dizziness and imbalance disorders to the latest studies and treatments, to additional resources and support groups.
For a Consultation
To determine if Physical Therapy is appropriate for your condition, please call us at 727-328-6290 to schedule a 15-minute consultation, during which one of our Physical Therapists will discuss your symptoms and perform a brief assessment to determine if Physical Therapy is right for you.