What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise based therapy programme that is designed to reduce the symptoms of disequilibrium by promoting central nervous system compensation in associated vestibular pathology. Vestibular rehabilitation is an alternative treatment involving specific exercises that can eliminate or significantly reduce symptoms by promoting central nervous system compensation for inner-ear deficits. The training allows the brain to regain balance, control and minimise dizziness. Essentially, the brain copes with the disorientating signals coming from the inner ears by learning to rely more on alternative signals coming from the eyes, ankles, legs and neck to maintain balance.
People with vestibular, inner ear disorders often experience problems with balance and position or movement-related dizziness. These primary symptoms are often accompanied by secondary symptoms associated with reduced activity levels. Secondary symptoms include decreased muscle strength, loss of range of motion, and increased tension in the cervical and shoulder muscles causing muscle fatigue, migraine, headaches and tension. These symptoms can affect a person’s ability to change positions, transition from sitting to standing, lying etc.
Dizziness may be debilitating and can diminish quality of life, reduce employability, and make day to day living difficult. Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialised form of therapy designed to desensitise the balance system and alleviate both primary and secondary symptoms of vestibular disorders by central nervous system compensation.
Where central nervous system compensation is achieved, individual’s ability to maintain posture, coordinate balance and stay upright may become dependent on input from other sensory system like vision, sensation and muscles and joints proprioception. Clinical evidence suggests that vestibular rehabilitation therapy exercises are proven and effective in reducing symptoms of many types of vestibular disorder including symptoms that follow corrective surgical procedures for vestibular disorders, treatment of BPPV, imbalance and vertigo.
Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialist area of rehabilitation that requires specialist knowledge, training and expertise in this area. When choosing your rehabilitation specialist, it is important you make sure that your physiotherapist has specialist knowledge, understanding and relevant training to treat neurological and vestibular conditions. Healing Touch Physiotherapy has a specialist service offering vestibular assessment and rehabilitation. We are instructed to complete a assessment, set out specific goals that are realistic and achievable and formulate a rehabilitation plan that would help clients achieve their goals.
Based on the assessment, action plans and therapy goals are identified. Treatment is based on specific goal settings that involves stabilisation, Vestibular habituation and balance retraining exercises.