Dizziness and vertigo are unsettling and can affect your quality of life. Vestibular rehabilitation has benefitted many patients suffering with these symptoms. Learn how this therapy can help you get back to normal.
What are dizziness and vertigo?
The symptoms of dizziness include feeling light-headed or unsteady. Vertigo is a type of dizziness in which you have a sensation of things spinning around you.
All kinds of dizziness put you at risk of falling and can interrupt your normal daily activities.
Causes of dizziness
Dizziness can have many causes. Inner ear problems, medication side effects, and neurological conditions can all trigger this symptom. Additionally, there may be an underlying condition or infection.
Some types of dizziness include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). This is caused by loose calcium carbonate particles (otoconia) becoming trapped in a part of the inner ear that senses position and balance. As they shift, they can trigger the sensation of movement.
- Ménière’s disease. A build-up of fluid inside the delicate inner ear interrupts normal balance signals to the brain. You may also have tinnitus, hearing loss, and a sense of fullness in the ear.
- Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis. These are viral infections of parts of the inner ear, which disrupts the sense of balance. They may also cause nausea and vomiting, nystagmus (uncontrolled eye movements) and hearing loss.
- Migraine headaches. People with migraines sometimes experience dizziness during an attack.
- Stroke and traumatic brain injury. Dizziness can result from damage to the brain.
Vestibular rehabilitation can help people who have a cause of dizziness that relates to the inner ear.
What is vestibular rehabilitation?
This specialised form of therapy is effective at treating people who have problems with the vestibular apparatus – that is, the part of the inner ear responsible for balance.
Although conditions that affect the vestibular apparatus can’t always be cured, vestibular rehabilitation works by helping the brain to compensate.
This means that symptoms of dizziness and vertigo settle, and balance improves.
The therapy programme includes three forms of exercise: habituation, gaze stabilisation, and balance training.
Habituation involves gradual exposure to movements or visual stimuli that provoke dizziness. Over time, the brain learns to cope with these triggers.
Gaze stabilisation involves learning to control eye movements while the head is moving. This is useful for people who find that moving their head causes their vision to jump.
Balance training helps people to cope with their environment and daily activities without falling. You may be given stretching, strengthening and balance-specific exercises.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is designed around an individual and addresses their specific difficulties.
Epley, Gufoni or Semont manoeuvres are types of repositioning techniques that are often used to help with BPPV.
Your therapist will work with you to plan a tailored management programme, according to your needs.
Interested in finding out more?
Here at Woodside Clinic, we offer vestibular rehabilitation therapy to patients struggling with dizziness or vertigo. Our osteopath, Pratik, is a qualified vestibular rehabilitation therapist, and he works with people dealing with many kinds of dizziness issues.