What is Vestibular Physical Therapy?

patient in vestibular physical therapy

What are Balance Disorders?

Feeling like your head is swimming can be one of the most debilitating symptoms that often get reported by our clients. Patients who are unable to function because of dizziness, vertigo, and fatigue often find that ordinary lifestyle actions and activities can suddenly become much more daunting than they were previously. The inability to function as a result of these symptoms could be a warning sign of damage to the vestibular system located in your ears.

Balance related disorders are no joke and need not be taken lightly. Fall prevention is crucial when it comes to treating these complications, as slips and falls put you at risk for much more serious injuries. This includes a threat of potential bone fracture or even a concussion if the patient has struck a blow to the head from slipping. Thankfully, MOTION offers vestibular physical therapy at many of our other clinics across the east coast.

What is the Function of the Vestibular System?

We’ve already emphasized the significance of the vestibular system when it comes to maintaining your balance and living an ordinary, healthy lifestyle. Now it’s time that we analyze the effects that vestibular disorders can have on your balance, and why it’s important to receive vestibular physical therapy for treatment and healing.

Recall a time when you were suffering from an ear infection, were you also having difficulty balancing and fighting off frequent dizziness? This is because your ears serve an important purpose (aside from hearing, obviously). They also act as your center of balance and equilibrium, giving your brain the ability to process what’s going on in your external environment.

Collectively, the vestibular system is made up of a series of structure internally in your ears that provides you with that critical sense of balance and physical awareness. Essentially, they can determine whether you’re currently right-side up or upside down. In coordination with your brain, this allows you to move properly and precisely with simple body movements. What’s also interesting to note about this system is that it is not something that all individuals are immediately born with having full function. Think about it, when you were a toddler, you had to learn how to walk properly and maintain strong balance. When you’re learning how to ride a skateboard, you don’t just pick it up immediately and hit the halfpipe. Vestibular skills are something that needs to be taught in regards to whatever situation your brain is now trying to learn. This is what allows you to function and pick up these skills internally. Naturally, this makes vestibular rehabilitation essential for those who need to learn new balancing skills or those who have lost this ability and require physical therapy. Damage to the vestibular system can also occur, often as a result of disease, injury, genetics, and some other known causes.

What is Vestibular Physical Therapy?

Getting to our primary topic, vestibular physical therapy is essential for those patients who have suffered damage to their internal vestibular system. At MOTION, we handle the recovery process instrumenting a series of exercise based therapies and programs in order to help the patient maintain and recover their lost balance and vestibular skills. This exercise-based treatment program is able to directly target dizziness and treat vestibular disorders.

Upon your first appointment, your physician will perform an initial evaluation of your condition and effectively evaluate any specific problem areas. As is the case with all injuries and complications, it’s vital that you are vocal with your physical therapist and inform them of your primary concerns with as much detail as possible. Once this diagnosis has been completed, your physical therapist can then work with you and help form a personalized plan of attack for reducing your dizziness and improving your overall quality of life. Research has shown vestibular rehabilitation therapy can be effective in combating these disorders and reducing symptoms related to these disorders.

What Conditions Can Vestibular Physical Therapy Help Treat?

The following are a list of conditions that are known to be able to be treated by vestibular rehabilitation and physical therapy:

  • Spinning or dizziness (vertigo)
  • Problems with eye-head coordination
  • Pool balance
  • Periods of lightheadedness
  • Feelings of faintness (syncope)

What Vestibular Physical Therapy Services are Offered at MOTION? 

At MOTION, we offer an abundance of rehabilitation services to help treat vestibular conditions. These include some of the following services:

Sensory Motor Training: Focusing on your reflexes, this program is able to help teach the patient proper foot positioning while also facilitating reflex responses.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) Maneuvers and Repositioning: One of the most common causes of vertigo, our staff is capable of treating this condition through repositioning and other maneuvers.

Patient & Family Education: Overall, one of our primary goals as a staff is to educate the patient on all aspects of their health. We can provide feedback and offer at-home advice in addition to lifestyle changes.

What Can Vestibular Rehab Do for Me? 

Oftentimes, patients will see results from vestibular physical therapy and will likely not need the assistance of another form of treatment. We instruct our clients to receive physical therapy and then continue the exercises that they learned while at home. Afterward, the dizziness and coordination problems that they had been experiencing will likely begin to dissipate and they can then go back to living normal healthy lives.

At MOTION, our staff has been providing quality care for patients for years, all across the east coast. In addition to vestibular rehabilitation, we offer an assortment of other services that are able to treat various conditions. If you are interested in requesting an appointment, please contact MOTION today.