Rehabilitation Institute

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Vestibular rehabilitation

What is vestibular rehabilitation?

Patients with inner ear disorders are often referred to physical therapy with primary symptoms of dizziness, balance disorders and visual-motor disturbances. In addition, many patients have developed secondary symptoms associated with reduced activity levels. Secondary symptoms include decreased strength, loss of range of motion and increased tension, particularly in the neck and shoulder region, leading to muscle fatigue and headaches. Therapy helps alleviate primary and secondary symptoms.

Regions Hospital - Rehabilitation Institute - Vestibular

When balance is impaired, an individual has difficulty maintaining orientation. For example, an individual may experience the room “spinning” and may not be able to walk without staggering or may not even be able to stand. Some of the symptoms a person with a balance disorder may experience are:

  • A sensation of dizziness or vertigo
  • Falling or a feeling of falling
  • Lightheadedness or feeling woozy
  • Problems reading and difficulty seeing
  • Disorientation

Some individuals may also experience nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, faintness, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, fear, anxiety or panic. The symptoms may appear and disappear over short time periods or may last for a longer period of time.

Benefits of therapy

Regions Hospital Outpatient Physical Therapy clinics have physical therapists who specialize in vestibular rehabilitation. The therapist will work individually with you and provide an individualized home exercise program to facilitate continual progress between therapy sessions. The focus of the treatment will be to decrease symptoms, reduce risk for falls and regain function.

Access to Regions Hospital physical therapy programs

A referral from your physician is required to be seen by one of the physical therapists who specialize in vestibular rehabilitation. If you think you would benefit from physical therapy, ask your physician for a referral.