Do you suffer from vertigo, dizziness, loss of balance, or blurred vision?
If so, you may have a vestibular disorder.
The vestibular system is located in the inner ear, under the temporal bone. It is made up of semicircular canals, otolith organs, as well as certain nerves connecting to parts of the brain.
It plays a crucial role in our sense of balance and spatial orientation, and also coordinates the reflexes of the head, neck, and eyes, which help us to track moving objects while walking. These reflexes also prevent us from getting dizzy when watching the back-and-forth motion of a car’s windshield wipers or when we turn around quickly to look at something behind us.
Vestibular dysfunction can cause a broad range of symptoms, including vertigo, dizziness, loss of balance, blurred vision, nausea, and headaches.
WHAT IS VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION?
Vestibular rehabilitation is performed by physiotherapists who have postgraduate training in this area. A variety of tests and equipment are used to assess vestibular system functioning, in order to determine the cause of the symptoms, apply appropriate treatment techniques, and recommend exercises depending on the condition. The goal of these interventions is to reduce the intensity, duration, and frequency of the vertigo and dizziness, or even eliminate them, and to improve your balance and visual acuity. This, in turn, has a dramatic positive impact on the patient’s quality of life and independence.
WHAT TYPES OF DISORDERS CAN BE TREATED USING THIS APPROACH?
The most common disorders treated with vestibular rehabilitation are:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), characterized by brief, but very intense episodes of vertigo, which are usually triggered by specific changes in the head’s position, for example, lying down in bed
- Unilateral vestibular deficits (neuronitis, labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis), characterized by vertigo during normal movements of the head or eyes, but also by vertigo caused by moving objects in front of the eyes (ball, windshield wipers, etc.)
- Bilateral or central disorders (head trauma, vestibular migraine)
- Static balance deficits (seated or standing position)
- Dynamic balance deficits (walking or climbing stairs)
It is not uncommon for patients to suffer from one of these conditions for several months, or even years. Nevertheless, vestibular rehabilitation often yields highly encouraging results and leads to improvements in quality of life.
Vestibular rehabilitation services are available at several of our Physio Extra clinics—feel free to contact us if you have any questions or to make an appointment.