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Vestibular Rehab

Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based program that improves balance and reduces dizziness-related issues. NextGen features specialty-trained vestibular physical therapists to help you reduce problems related to dizziness and vertigo.
 

What is vestibular rehabilitation?

Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialized form of therapy that treats dizziness-related disorders. Symptoms include dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, and posture or vision problems. A specialty-trained vestibular physical therapist oversees the treatment designed to reduce these symptoms. The goal is to restore proper balance by pinpointing and addressing the causes of the abnormalities.

What is dizziness?

Dizziness may have causes that are not due to underlying diseases. These include standing up too quickly or the side effects of medications. It can also result from spinning in circles or intoxication. However, there are underlying mechanical issues that may cause isolated or recurring bouts of dizziness. These are often related to neck dysfunction, inner-ear disorders, or severe issues like brain or heart problems.

Concussions and other traumatic brain injuries can also cause dizziness and loss of balance or coordination.  Dizziness after a concussion can last for weeks or months and can potentially become a chronic problem without treatment.

More than 10 million patients visit a doctor due to dizziness each year. While it mainly affects patients over the age of 75, dizziness can occur in patients of any age.

Common symptoms that can improve with vestibular rehabilitation include:

  • Blurry vision or dizziness with head movements
  • Frequent falls
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Imbalance or the need to hold onto something when walking
  • Neck stiffness, tightness, or pain
  • Vertigo and sensation of moving/spinning
  • Wooziness (swimmy feeling in the head)

Additional symptoms include:

  • Foggy head feelings
  • Floating
  • Lightheadedness
  • Swaying
  • Tilting
  • Unsteadiness
  • Whirling (sensations of vertigo)

Who receives vestibular rehabilitation?

Patients referred for vestibular rehabilitation therapy are diagnosed with imbalance or dizziness. They may also suffer from recurring vertigo, Meniere’s syndrome, neck-related dizziness, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). In addition, this specialized therapy also treats patients dealing with chronic migraines or fall risks due to brain injuries and stroke.

Our NextGen physical therapist will evaluate the symptoms and your medical history. The assessment will determine if your dizziness and imbalance issues occur when standing still, lying down, or both. These symptoms can be chronic or episodic – lasting seconds, minutes, or hours. The diagnosis will include all or a part of the following areas:

  • Balance and leg strength
  • Flexibility
  • Gait – how your limb movements are made when you walk
  • Inner ear exam – checking for signs or sensations of vertigo
  • Neck mobility – neck functionality and arm strength
  • Positional testing for imbalance disorders
  • Visual stability and overall mobility

Based on your report, a strategic care plan is formulated. Its goal will be to treat any irregular issues, or deficits found. This will restore your ability to function in everyday activities and life. As a result, the risk of falling will be reduced and ultimately improve the quality of your life.

Who can benefit from vestibular rehabilitation?

Vestibular rehabilitation has a high rate of success for patients with the abovementioned symptoms. Usually, only one treatment is needed for patients to reap its benefits. However, this depends on the patient’s diagnosis, symptoms, and response to therapy. Patients will also be given exercises to follow to eradicate dizziness and balance problems completely.

How long is the vestibular rehabilitation program?

Patients are typically seen 1-2 times each week for 6-8 weeks. But, again, this varies based on the patient’s health and the therapist’s recommendations. While some individuals may see benefits in just 1-2 sessions, others may need continued treatment for a few months.

Exercises for patients in vestibular rehabilitation programs

There are several exercises utilized in vestibular rehabilitation programs. These include but are not limited to:

  • Balance training and retraining
  • Ergonomic training – helps the patient’s posture and comfort levels by adjusting workplace furnishings
  • Fitness exercises
  • Neck mobility, stretching, and strengthening exercises
  • Posture training
  • Vision stability training
  • Walking exercises

Each treatment plan is personalized to meet the individual’s short-term and long-term health/wellness goals. Your exercise program will be based on the findings in your report. For example, inner-ear problems may require self-treatment exercises. In addition, your NextGen doctor and therapist will map out continuing exercise plans – for home – that will treat and prevent further episodes of dizziness and imbalance.

NextGen offers qualified vestibular therapists who can help you overcome dizziness. Contact our clinic today for a same-day appointment or consultation.