Vestibular and balance rehabilitation or vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a type of physiotherapy that treats vestibular disorders. Your provider performs a thorough assessment before tailoring a treatment plan to meet your specific needs and goals if you are a good candidate for vestibular rehabilitation.
Your vestibular system consists of your inner ear organs, the vestibular center in your brain and cerebellum, and your peripheral vestibular nerves. This system focuses on detecting head position and motion and communicating motion information to your brain. Once your brain has processed the input from your vestibular system, it helps your body react adequately, including your eye muscles and limbs.
If you had an injury to your vestibular system or have a medical condition that affects it, your central nervous system can compensate for it. However, vestibular and balance rehabilitation can help restore your inner ear function to reduce or eliminate symptoms.
What Can Vestibular Rehabilitation Treat?
Your primary care physician may refer you to a physical therapist who provides vestibular and balance rehabilitation if they have diagnosed you with a vestibular condition or injury.
Vestibular conditions include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
- Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis
- Bilateral or unilateral vestibular dysfunction
- Vestibular migraine
- Otolith Dysfunction
- Acoustic neuroma
- Persistent postural perceptual dizziness
- Cervicogenic dizziness
- Meniere’s Disease
Your doctor may also suggest vestibular rehabilitation therapy if you have had a stroke or a traumatic brain injury. Vestibular deconditioning can also happen due to the aging process.
If you have not received a formal assessment for vestibular concerns, you may seek a medical assessment if you experience the following symptoms:
- Chronic fatigue
- Neck stiffness or pain
- Reduced balance
- Headaches or migraines
- Nausea or vomiting
- Double vision
- Difficulty looking at a screen
- Brain fog
Vestibular and balance rehabilitation may address those symptoms. You can mention those to your primary care doctor or your physical therapist.
How Does My Doctor Determine Whether Vestibular Therapy Can Help Me?
During your initial consultation, your physical therapist will perform a variety of tests to determine whether vestibular and balance rehabilitation is an appropriate solution for you.
Your medical assessment usually involves:
- A neuromusculoskeletal examination
- Cranial nerve tests
- Cervical tests
- Visual tests such as your reflexive eye movements
- Posture and balance tests
- Walking and mobility tests
Your medical provider also reviews your medical history and will ask you questions about your symptoms, including their duration and intensity.
If your doctor decides to go ahead and create a vestibular and balance rehabilitation treatment plan for you, the results of those tests provide detailed information to adjust the exercises and therapy strategies.
What Are the Goals of Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation?
Although the expected outcomes of your treatment plan depend on your situation, the goals of vestibular therapy can cover the reduction or elimination of vestibular disorders symptoms.
Your vestibular therapy can aim to:
- Reduce dizziness and fatigue
- Eliminate nausea or vomiting
- Sharpen your cognitive abilities like your memory and concentration
- Increase your posture and balance when sitting, standing, or walking
- Stabilize your gaze
- Improve your neck comfort and mobility
- Lower stress and anxiety levels
When you feel more comfortable and confident with your everyday tasks, you can find motivation and enjoyment in doing the things you love and trying out new activities.
What Can I Expect During My Treatment?
Your physical therapist has a lot of options to choose from when designing your personalized vestibular and vestibular rehabilitation plan. Thanks to your regular appointments, they can monitor your progress and make any modifications that can promote long-lasting recovery.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy can involve:
- Posture and balance training
- Gaze stabilization exercises
- Visual targeting and tracking exercises
- Habituation exercises
- Neck stretching
- Core strengthening
- Mobility exercises
- Compensation or substation strategies
- Manual therapy
In addition to in-office sessions, your physical therapist educates you on methods you can use in your everyday life, and they will demonstrate exercises that you can do at home to support your treatment. Although most vestibular and balance rehabilitation exercises are easy to learn, doing them consistently is vital for your recovery. Setting up a regular schedule to perform your at-home routine, usually two or three times a day, is key for your success.
The pace of your sessions with your physical therapist and the overall duration of your treatment depends on the severity of your symptoms and how you progress.
Contact ProFysio Physical Therapy today at (732) 812-5200 to schedule an appointment for a vestibular and balance assessment in Monmouth or Middlesex Counties!