Vestibular Rehabilitation (VR) or Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is an exercise-based program designed to help reduce the symptoms caused by vestibular disorders such as dizziness, vertigo, falls, imbalance, and visual problems. These symptoms can also present with issues such as headaches, nausea, vomiting, and fatigue. Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common form of vertigo. Vertigo, dizziness, and trouble with balance are the most common symptoms of vestibular dysfunction, which can be helped with vestibular rehabilitation. Some of the most common causes of vestibular dysfunction include head injury, aging, medications, viral infection, displacement of “crystals” within the inner ear, and genetic or environmental factors (exposure to certain drugs or chemicals).
VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION THERAPY
INDIVIDUALIZED VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION PROGRAM
The therapist will develop a customized program based on the findings from the assessment and laboratory tests and imaging results and create a treatment plan and course of treatment that suit the client’s unique goals. Combining in-clinic therapy and a home exercise program will help achieve rehabilitation and patient goals. Each individualized program is unique and based on individuals’ needs which can consist of a combination of manual therapy and self-treatment exercises to help prevent or treat new dizziness and balance issues. Examples of exercises you might learn to include specific positional exercises, vision stability training, postural training, balance retraining, walking exercises, habituation and orientation exercises, neck mobility/stretching exercises, and general strengthening and fitness exercises.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON YOUR FIRST VISIT
The VRT begins with a thorough initial assessment with the patient to discuss symptoms and detailed history related to the condition and perform tests to determine the cause of the condition. The initial vestibular assessment consists of answering a few questionnaires regarding the characteristics of vertigo, dizziness, and balance concerns, along with social and functional limitations due to those concerns. This is followed by objective assessments that might include: neck mobility measurements, coordination tests, visual and motor coordination tests, positional testing, motion sensitivity assessments, and balance and walking assessments.