Do you or someone you know suffer from dizziness or unsteadiness or vertigo or balance problems? Many of these problems can be grouped under the umbrella term of “vestibular conditions” and may start appearing after head trauma (motor vehicle accidents), stroke or brain injury, inner ear infections, consumption of certain medications, and after certain illnesses or diseases. Or they may emerge suddenly due to aging, so they are more commonly seen in the elderly population, although people of all ages may still be susceptible to this dysfunction.
Our physiotherapist who is knowledgeable in this type of condition will go through a detailed subjective and objective assessment with you to properly diagnose your condition in order to tailor your treatment plan.
VRT uses specialized and individualized exercises to relieve the symptoms and discomfort of various vestibular disorders.
For patients with Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), the therapist can position the patient using a series of specific head movements to eliminate their vertigo symptoms.
The Vestibular System
Many people complain about vertigo, unsteadiness, dizziness, and balance problems each year. There can be a number of causes for these types of symptoms; however, a large percentage arises from dysfunction of the inner ear and parts of the brain that contribute to controlling eye movements and balance. This is the vestibular system. If a disease or injury damages this system, a vestibular condition may develop.
What Causes Vestibular Conditions?Vestibular conditions are commonly caused by:
- Head Trauma (MVA, falls, sports injuries)
- Inner ear infections
- Certain medications
- Stroke and brain injury
- Certain illnesses or diseases
What are the symptoms?Symptoms can range from mild to severe:
- Vertigo (a spinning sensation often with changes to head position)
- Poor balance
- Motion sensitivity
- Blurring of vision with head movements
- Difficulty watching TV
- Decreased tolerance in crowded environments
- Sensitivity to bright lights and noises
Treatments may include:Symptoms can range from mild to severe:
- Specific gaze stability exercises
- Reposition manoeuvre for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
- An home exercise program
- Balance retraining
- Specific vestibular or habituation exercises
What can the patient expect?
Following a detailed assessment by the physiotherapist, the patient will be provided with an individualized home program. The physiotherapist will monitor and progress the program in order to ensure the best results. In some cases, the physiotherapist may consult with the family doctor for patients who may need a referral to a neurologist or an ENT specialist.
Often times, the patient my experience an exacerbation of symptoms during and immediately after their visit. As such, it is recommended that the patient arrive with a designated driver for their visits.