What is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?
Balance is maintained by the body via three systems: the visual system, the somatosensory system and the vestibular system. Damage to one or more of these systems can cause debilitating symptoms such as dizziness, feeling unsteady or off-balance, confusion, etc. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is a component of physical therapy that addresses the many possible causes of dizziness within the vestibular system including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis or neuritis, superior canal dehiscence, and unilateral or bilateral hypofunction. A subset of VRT also focuses on symptoms that may be caused by damage to the vestibular system from brain injury or concussion.
What happens during Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?
At Rehabilitation Specialists our physical therapy department will provide a thorough evaluation to determine whether these dizziness-related symptoms require physical therapy treatment or referral to specialists for further examination. Should physical therapy be indicated, a comprehensive and individualized plan of care is developed to address the underlying issue with an exercise-based program. This program may include balance re-training, gait training, visual exercises and coordination activities, as well as manual techniques performed by the therapist if indicated. Once symptoms are controlled, a personalized home exercise program is developed to maintain goals which have been achieved.
Will it help me?
Due to the fact that there are many possible causes of dizziness, it is crucial that a comprehensive examination and evaluation is completed by a qualified physical therapist to determine if VRT is indicated. If it is determined that VRT is appropriate, there may be a brief exacerbation of symptoms with initial treatment. However, the majority of patients report relief of symptoms.