Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Physiotherapy: balance exercises for vestibular rehabilitation against vertigo and balance disorders, related to the inner ear.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

What is vestibular therapy?

Vestibular therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy also known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy focusing on the vestibule (the inner ear) which accounts for our sense of balance. Vestibular therapy is designed to alleviate primary and secondary problems brought on by vestibular disorders, including bilateral vestibular hypofunction. Vestibular therapy uses various techniques and vestibular rehabilitation exercises to reduce symptoms like vertigo and dizziness, improve gaze stability, and improve postural stability, thus improving quality of life.

What kind of vestibular therapy treatments are provided at Spear?

At Spear, we understand that each vestibular disorder is unique, necessitating a specialized approach. Our certified vestibular therapists create customized vestibular rehabilitation programs orchestrated to meet individual patient needs, including those with ear disorders and bilateral vestibular hypofunction. These programs often incorporate vestibular rehabilitation exercises, addressing conditions like:

  • Dizziness or vertigo
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Mal de Débarquement Syndrome
  • Migraines and other headaches
  • Balance disorders
  • Neuronitis
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Post-concussion syndrome
  • Ramsey-Hunt Syndrome
  • Unilateral as well as bilateral vestibular hypofunction
  • Cerebellar degeneration, age-related multisensory deficits, and multiple sclerosis.

Depending on the specific vestibular disorder and the patient’s unique symptoms, our therapists may employ various maneuvers and exercises, including balance retraining, gaze stability drills, postural retraining, and gait training. These can be motions like Epley, modified Epley, Semont,  Appiani, Casani, and Lempert (BBQ) for BPPV patients. Other therapies may include balance retraining, vestibular-occipital reflex training, postural retraining, and gait training for other illnesses.

When is vestibular therapy recommended?

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is recommended when a patient experiences recurrent or persistent symptoms of a vestibular disorder, which may result from various causes, including congenital defects, ear disorders, age-related wear and tear, and traumatic brain injury. Symptoms include difficulty focusing, frequent dizziness, balance issues, disruptions to the sensory system, and manifestations related to vestibular pathology.

Spear therapists can help with a wide range of problems, from fundamental balance issues to particular diagnoses such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and Meniere’s disease. Vestibular physical therapy can also succor patients with post-concussion syndrome, migraines, acoustic neuroma, labyrinthitis, and other vestibular disorders.

What is the goal of vestibular therapy?

The primary goal of vestibular therapy is to boost vestibular function, which is crucial for maintaining balance and preventing falls, especially in balance disorders. The treatment aims to reduce primary symptoms, enhance the body’s ability to sustain balance, improve postural stability, and boost the overall quality of life.

Therapists work to reduce the patient’s risk of falling, improve their spatial orientation, increase their fitness levels, and enhance their overall ability to carry out day-to-day activities. Through habituation exercises, patients learn to manage disruptive symptoms with specific movements or positional changes. With a well-designed exercise program, patients can achieve long-term improvements in their symptoms, leading to considerably more stable body movements, better postural stability, and improved balance.

What does vestibular therapy treatment involve?

A comprehensive evaluation by a licensed vestibular physical therapist is the first step in vestibular therapy. An evaluation of the patient’s symptoms, medical background, functional capacity, and the severity of their balance issues are frequently part of this. Based on the results of this assessment, the physical therapist creates an individualized therapy plan that frequently consists of a variety of vestibular rehabilitation activities.

Exercise, training, and lifestyle modifications are frequently used as treatments. To enhance their balance and coordination, patients should practice balance training exercises and activities for gaze stabilization. They could also practice habituation exercises to lessen sensations brought on by particular motions. To enhance walking and stability, the therapeutic program may also include gait training.

Therapists offering Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
Jennifer Baudhuin, PT, DPT
Jennifer Baudhuin headshot
Jennifer Baudhuin, PT, DPT
Tori Canning, PT, DPT, CSCS
Tori Canning headshot
Tori Canning, PT, DPT, CSCS
Leanna Gearhart, PT, DPT, MS, OCS
Leanna Gearhart headshot
Leanna Gearhart, PT, DPT, MS, OCS
DPT, MS, OCS, PT
Camryn Gessner, PT, DPT, AIB-VR/CON
Camryn Gessner headshot
Camryn Gessner, PT, DPT, AIB-VR/CON
Jamie Golubitsky, PT, DPT, OCS
Jamie Golubitsky headshot
Jamie Golubitsky, PT, DPT, OCS
Rachel Klazmer, PT, DPT, LSVT BIG
Rachel Klamer headshot
Rachel Klazmer, PT, DPT, LSVT BIG
Justin Lugtu, PT, DPT, CSCS
Justin Lugtu headshot
Justin Lugtu, PT, DPT, CSCS
Andrew Medlin, PT, DPT, CSCS
Andrew Medlin Headshot
Andrew Medlin, PT, DPT, CSCS
Kieran Morrissey, MS, OTR/L, TPI L1
Kieran Morrissey headshot
Kieran Morrissey, MS, OTR/L, TPI L1
Gabby Skolnik, PT, DPT, ATC
Gabby Skolnik headshot
Gabby Skolnik, PT, DPT, ATC
Genevieve Smith, PT, DPT, OCS
Genevieve Smith headshot
Genevieve Smith, PT, DPT, OCS
Clyde Staley, PT, DPT, CSCS
Clyde Staley headshot
Clyde Staley, PT, DPT, CSCS
Fenny Vajani, PT, MS
Fenny V Headshot
Fenny Vajani, PT, MS

Frequently asked questions about
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Vestibular therapy involves a series of prescribed exercises and training programs designed to alleviate the symptoms of vestibular disorders. This includes balance retraining exercises, gaze stability exercises, habituation exercises, and gait training, among others.

The length of time it takes for vestibular therapy to work varies significantly from patient to patient. While some patients may experience relief within a few sessions, others may require a more protracted treatment period, spanning several weeks or months.

Vestibular therapy is an effective treatment for many types of vestibular disorders. While it may not cure all cases, it often significantly reduces symptoms and improves the patient’s quality of life.

Some common symptoms of vestibular disorders include dizziness, vertigo, balance problems, blurred vision, disorientation, and difficulties with concentration and memory.

Yes, many of the exercises prescribed in vestibular therapy can be performed at home under the guidance of a physical therapist.

Vestibular therapy is generally well tolerated. However, some exercises may initially cause a temporary increase in dizziness or unsteadiness. These symptoms usually decelerate with time as the body adapts.

Several factors can exacerbate vestibular symptoms, including stress, lack of sleep, certain medications, and the consumption of caffeine or alcohol. It’s important to discuss these factors with your therapist to manage your symptoms effectively.

Patients undergoing vestibular therapy should refrain from doing anything that could make them more likely to fall or make their symptoms worse without a therapist’s supervision. Inadequate sleep, a bad diet, and drinking too much alcohol or caffeine can all have a negative impact on recuperation.

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