Have you had an episode of dizziness or had the feeling your balance wasn’t quite right? Oftentimes, these episodes lead to decreased activity and impaired quality of life.
The National Institute of Health reports 85% of all equilibrium impairments are directly linked to inner ear disorders. Other causes of dizziness and balance problems include stroke, vascular insufficiency, age-related multi-sensory deficits, and head trauma. Physical therapy can help restore balance and function for many of these individuals.
How Does It Work?
In a properly functioning system, the right and left vestibular organs (located in the inner ear) work together in a push-pull fashion. To maintain equilibrium, it is essential these two organs maintain an equal amount of activity (push-pull). If a change in the function of one of these organs occurs, we experience a turning or spinning motion called dizziness or vertigo.
Through vestibular rehabilitation therapy, connections within the brain are re-programmed to account for impairments.
Canalith Repositioning Maneuver
The classic symptom is vertigo, or the illusion of a spinning sensation. The most common triggers for a person suffering from vertigo may include rolling over in bed, bending over to pick something up, or quickly looking over a shoulder. This situation can be treated effectively by a physical therapist using a gentle particle repositioning maneuver.
Not all individuals with balance problems have dizziness or vertigo. Treatment may consist of a combination of strengthening exercises and strategies to improve mobility, including walking pattern modifications and/or walking on uneven surfaces.
This treatment strategy focuses on retraining the brain in addition to strengthening other systems of balance. Through repeated exposure to various challenges, the brain will be re-programmed to account for balance impairments to minimize or eliminate their impact on daily activities.
Self-Directed Home Exercise Program
A customized program will be developed for each individual based on test results and situations that provoke symptoms. Through exercises performed several times per day, the brain will learn to compensate for areas of impairment. This program may be performed independently or in conjunction with treatment in the clinic setting.