What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?
Vestibular rehabilitation is the management of conditions that affect the inner ear, dizziness, nausea and balance. There are multiple conditions that cause these types of problems and a thorough assessment from one of our specialist physiotherapists can identify the cause and treatment allowing a significant reduction in symptoms, or even eliminate them all together.
What causes Vestibular symptoms?
There are a whole host of conditions that can cause a sense of imbalance including:
- BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)
- Vestibular neuronitis
- Migraine associated dizziness
- Dizziness in the elderly
These conditions cause a disruption in the vestibular system which is responsible for coordinating your balance by very sensitive structures passing signals from the inner ear to your brain. When the structures are damaged or affected, these signals become blurred causing a disturbance to your balance and a false sense of movement. The confused messaging can make you feel dizzy, nauseous, exhausted and generally unwell. Headaches are a common complaint associated with these conditions. Experiencing vestibular symptoms not only affects you physically but also mentally. Often patients report a poorer quality of life because of the negative impact on work, home and social relationships.
The Physiotherapy Assessment
The assessment of these conditions is lengthier than a standard musculoskeletal condition because of the multi faceted problems they cause. Symptoms vary between patients and often they can be significantly reduced with the rehabilitation programme offered which is tailored to each individual. The specialist physiotherapist will assess your eyes, gait, balance, co ordination and may perform some positional tests. Sometimes the tests can be inconlusive and we may need to involve other specialists like neurologists or ENT doctors to help perform more specific tests or scans. We will work closely with you and them to ensure you are receiving the input required.
Typically treatment would involve a combination of advice on activity modification and manual treatments to help reset and retrain the vestibular system to overcome the deficit. We will provide you with a home programme which is imperative to your progress. Depending upon your condition some other treatments could include:
- The Epley manoeuvre – this involves the therapist performing some head movements to reset the inner ear when a condition of BPPV is confirmed. This is usually a very effective treatment and can often resolve symptoms in one treatment.
- Gaze Stability – this works on gaining more focus and clarity by training the eyes to work more effectively when the head is moving. This is often a problem amongst a lot of conditions and will form part of your home programme. It strengthens the system to allow your brain to obtain a clearer message and in turn reduce your ‘dizzy’ symptoms.
- Balance re-training – this involves exercises that challenge your balance system to improve the input from the balance sensors and allow them to override the confusing messages sent to the brain from the inner ear.
- Gait re education – this could involve walking based drills which challenges all of the vestibular system allowing you to feel more confident when being mobile. Some of these exercises could involve turning when walking, bending over to pick up objects or being distracted.
- Symptom management – this Is significant in the management of vestibular conditions. Having the mechanisms to cope with your condition and symptoms allows you to feel in control. We will educate you on why you are experiencing the symptoms you are and as such you feel more empowered to cope when you are feeling at your worse
Why choose us?
We have a team of vestibular therapists who have experience in managing all of the conditions above. We have open channels of communication with some of the best consultants in the region and we are dedicated to helping you feel in control of your symptoms and allow an improvement in your quality of life. We have no waiting lists and don’t need a referral from a medical practitioner to book an assessment.
Contact us on 01744 738369