What is Vestibular Therapy?
Vestibular therapy is performed by a specialty-trained physical therapist and involves treating patients with inner ear dysfunction. Inner ear dysfunction can include balance deficits, dizziness, and/or a missense of where one is in space. Vestibular therapy resolves dizziness through positional maneuvers, eye coordination exercises, and habituation exercises, all depending on the type of dizziness. Vestibular therapy restores balance through static and dynamic balance training tasks, often involving head turns and opening and closing eyes on a variety of surfaces.
Who Can Benefit?
People who have an inner ear dysfunction would benefit from vestibular physical therapy. The inner ear houses the vestibular system, responsible for our balance, spatial orientation, and coordinating eye movements with head movements. When this system is affected, dizziness is often present. Vertigo, or the sensation of feeling like you are moving when you’re not moving, typically appears as room-spinning dizziness. Vertigo is a common symptom of inner ear dysfunction, often triggered with head position changes. If the vestibular system is weak, a more generalized dizziness is often present, especially when moving.
Individuals who have difficulty with any of the following would be appropriate for vestibular therapy: rolling over in bed, bending over, turning head quickly, tipping head back/looking up, walking, keeping balance with eyes closed or when standing on an uneven surface, reading, focusing on a target when your head is moving, or shifting eyes from one target to another. Anyone who suffers from dizziness can benefit from an evaluation performed by one of Rock Valley’s vestibular physical therapists, professionals trained to identify the underlying causes of dizziness. If further physical therapy is not determined as suitable, an appropriate healthcare provider will be recommended.
Conditions Commonly Treated by Vestibular Physical Therapy Services:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
- Vestibular Hypofunction (resulting from Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis)
- Meniere’s Disease
- Generalized Dizziness
- Concussions/ Head Injuries
- Headaches and Migraines
- Balance Disorders (generalized, Parkinson’s, stroke, etc.)