Our physical therapists have developed the Vestibular Rehabilitation program to help improve the symptoms of dizziness while increasing mobility and balance. This rehabilitation helps to retrain the body when stroke, brain trauma, inner ear surgery or chronic disease like MS or Parkinson’s affects the vestibular system. Patients with vertigo, motion intolerance and dizziness associated with neck pain may also benefit from this program.
Our body’s sense of balance and spatial orientation is something we take for granted. But when illness or injury affects the body’s balancing system, it can lead to falls, reduced mobility, blurred vision, headaches, nausea and other physical discomforts. The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, is often to blame. An important contributor to the body’s balancing, this system has three jobs to do:
- Detect the position of the head in space and on the body
- Ensure postural control
- Contribute to coordination of head and eye movement
Treatment may include computerized sensory integration testing and gait training using the SMART Balance Master®, available at Harbour View, DePaul, and Mary Immaculate physical therapy locations. Individualized treatments include:
- Vestibular Habituation/Adaptation Exercises: Based on the rationale that by repeating the movements that create dizziness or vertigo, the brain will adjust its response
- Vestibular Ocular Exercises: Combine head and eye movements in progressively more complicated combinations and positions to reduce vertigo symptoms
- Balance Retraining: Involves exercises designed to improve coordination of muscle responses, as well as the organization of sensory information for balance control
- Gaze Stabilization Exercises: Reduce retinal image “slipping,” which contributes to the sense of imbalance
- Compensatory Strategies: To help minimize the effects of vestibular loss of function
- Cardiovascular Exercises: To increase endurance
- Sensory Integration Strategies: Sensory and motor activities to help the brain better absorb and process sensory information
- Posture Education and Instruction in Ideal Head and Body Positioning
- Fall Prevention and Safety Training
In Motion staff teach patients how to compensate for loss of sense of balance, provide a home exercise program and give suggestions for ways to make home and other spaces safer, fall-free zones.