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Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

If you are having unexplained vertigo, dizziness, balance problems or headaches you may ask can Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) help me?

Why is VRT needed?

If the brain cannot rely on the information it receives from the vestibular system, a person's ability to maintain posture and coordinate balance can become overly dependent on vision or on the information received from the muscles and joints (proprioception).

This can lead to developing new patterns of movement to compensate for the change and to avoid head movements that are apt to create symptoms of dizziness and nausea. For example, a person might adopt an exaggerated hip sway as a method of balancing, swivel the entire body rather than just the head when turning to look at something.

Unfortunately, these types of adaptation can result in headache, neck pain, muscle stiffness, general fatigue, and a decrease in the ability to retrain the brain to adjust to the vestibular problem, therefore making the symptoms worse.

The goal of VRT is to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system in coordination with information from vision and proprioception. This often involves desensitizing the balance system to movements that provoke symptoms.

What happens during VRT?
One of our trained Vestibular Rehab Therapists will first perform a thorough evaluation. This includes observing posture, balance, movement, and compensatory strategies.

Using the result of this evaluation, the physical therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes specific head, body, and eye exercises to be performed both in the therapy setting and at home. Many times, treatment may also include increasing activities and exercise in order to strengthen muscles and increase tolerance for symptom-provoking stimuli.

Some of the exercise and activities may at first cause an increase in symptoms as the body and brain attempt to sort out the new pattern of movements. But with time and consistent practice, coordination of signals from the eyes, proprioception, and vestibular system can occur.

How does VRT help?
In most cases, balance improves if the exercises are correctly and faithfully performed. Muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue will diminish, and symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and nausea will decrease or disappear. Many times,VRT is so successful that no other treatment is required.

If surgery is required to correct an inner ear problem, VRT will also be an important part of treatment. The physical therapist may provide a series of simple exercises to do for home care after discharge from the hospital. Often, therapists provide further therapy after a person has recovered from the surgery. If you are having vertigo, dizziness or loss of balance you may ask these questions?

  • Is a physician's referral needed to enter therapy? No Physical Therapist have direct access to patients including the evaluation and 3 weeks of treatment, but if you have Medicare you will need a physician referral.
  • How will the therapist assess my problems? A thorough vestibular evaluation and use in any special diagnostics your doctor has completed.
  • What happens in the exercise program? You are closely monitored in treatment then taught a home exercise program and sometimes your caregiver is also taught to insure safety and correct form.

Call Body Owners today to set up your appointment to see if VRT will help you.