What Is Vestibular Therapy?

Man receiving vestibular treatment from physio

What You Should Know About Vestibular Therapy

Have you suffered from vertigo, dizziness, or other conditions that affect your balance? You are not alone; according to the Cleveland Clinic, approximately 10 million adults will see a doctor for dizziness or related symptoms during their lifetime. With so many people experiencing balance difficulties, there should be treatments available that can reduce symptoms, improve function, and lessen the need for prescriptions or lost time from work. Vestibular therapy may be the remedy that can improve the quality of life for people with these often-debilitating conditions. But what is vestibular therapy and how can it help?

Who Needs It?

Vestibular therapy, or rehabilitation, as it is also known, is a treatment plan that involves exercises and manual techniques to reduce symptoms caused by severe dizziness or balance conditions. There are a few different diagnoses that can benefit from vestibular therapy:

  • Vertigo
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Benign paroxysmal position vertigo
  • Migraine headaches
  • Dizziness or balance problems due to a concussion, brain injury, or stroke

Some of these problems are related to inner ear problems while others are more neurological in origin. Occasionally, dizziness or frequent falling may not have a clear underlying cause, but the symptoms that are present can persist nonetheless. Anyone who has lived with dizzy spells, blurry vision, trouble balancing, neck tightness, or a spinning sensation knows that these symptoms can impact daily functioning and quality of life.

How Does It Work?

Unlike some other forms of treatment, vestibular therapy can be customized to meet each patient’s needs. A physical therapist may begin with a clinical evaluation to understand what symptoms are present as well as the patient’s level of conditioning to create an effective treatment plan. Vestibular rehabilitation comprises a few different components:

  • Vision stability and gaze stabilization
  • Posture training
  • Stretching and strengthening
  • Mobility exercises for neck and head
  • Balance retraining
  • General exercises and walking

A patient may begin with outpatient treatment and receive an exercise plan to continue at home to improve stamina, strength, and stability. There may also be inclusion of specific maneuvers designed to reduce positional imbalance or dizziness.

While you may not see your symptoms go away completely, you should have improvement in the severity or frequency of them. According to the American Hearing Research Foundation, patients with vestibular problems see their symptoms improve by 70-80 percent.

What About the Future?

Vestibular therapy plans may see an inclusion of technology to assist patients in their symptom management. From software to apps, the latest tech developments can also benefit physical therapists in personalizing a treatment plan that allows patients to continue their progress independently or even track their participation and adherence to recommended home therapies.

Performance Rehab Associates offers vestibular therapy as well as other functional neurotherapy methods for noninvasive approaches to health and well-being. Contact us today to learn more about this cutting-edge treatment.