Vestibular Rehabilitation

Omphysio Service

What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?

Normally the brain is able to put together information from the eyes, joints and the balance organ in the ear (Vestibular Apparatus), to make it easy to move around without dizziness. If the balance organ is not working properly, dizziness or feelings of unsteadiness occur. To remedy this, the brain must be helped to put this information together in a new way. Vestibular Rehabilitation will help the brain to process the information it receives in a new way to help return balance and reduce symptoms.

Potential causes of symptoms include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis)
  • Acoustic neuroma
  • Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

Why have I been referred to the Physiotherapist?

Following consultation with the doctor you have been referred for Vestibular Rehabilitation. The physiotherapist will assess your dizziness/unsteadiness and will advise you on the best exercises to perform to help you manage and improve your symptoms.

What can I expect?

The physiotherapist will want to know about your dizziness/unsteadiness and how it affects your daily life. They may then look at your balance in various positions eg. walking and standing and do other tests for dizziness. They will then discuss with you the best way to manage your symptoms.

Why do I need to exercise?

To help the brain learn how not to feel dizzy so that you can take control of the symptoms you experience.

What about my other symptoms?

Although the process of recovery after a dizzy spell can happen to some extent automatically, the speed of recovery varies. You may find that it is unpleasant to move your head as it brings on the dizziness and decide to keep your head very still. Avoiding movement however delays recovery. It can also lead to developing neck tension. If the symptoms persist for a long time, other problems may develop. These may include:

  • Loss of confidence
  • An inability to plan your life
  • A reduction of hobbies or leisure activities
  • Restricted movement can lead to a progressive loss of function.

Will the exercises bring on my symptoms?

The exercises you will be taught and which will be demonstrated to you by the physiotherapist are designed to ‘reprogramme’ your brain to ‘tune-out’ the dizzy sensations. The exercises will bring on your symptoms but in a very controlled manner. If you do not bring on the dizziness at all, the exercises will not work.

When should I do the exercises?

You will be guided on how to do the exercises at your own pace, and you can therefore choose how to plan and fit them into your own day.

Will I need to come to Physiotherapy again?

You will be reviewed by the physiotherapist to determine that the exercises are suited to you and check on your progress.

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