Vestibular therapy is a specialized form of physical therapy that assesses the symptoms of vertigo, dizziness and balance problems. There are many types of dizziness that have different origins and causes. Because of the many causes of dizziness, a thorough assessment must be completed including: a review of the symptoms, the behavior and the history of how the dizziness developed.
If you are experiencing vertigo (spinning sensation) or dizziness (lightheaded or off-balance) you may benefit from vestibular physiotherapy.
You may also be experiencing ear pressure or ringing, nausea, vomiting, double vision, headaches and extreme sensitivity to light and sound and head movements.
It is important to undergo an assessment with a trained professional early on to rule out any serious pathology. Your doctor and physiotherapist will be able to advise you if any further medical investigation is required. Most cases are benign. This means that the condition is not serious and will likely resolve fully with treatment.
Vertigo can be caused by a trauma to the head such as a fall or a sports injury. It can also develop as a result of a virus in the inner ear and can be caused by the degenerative effects of aging.
Common conditions that cause dizziness
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo. It is a problem that happens in the inner ear in the semicircular canals. The role of the canals is to monitor your head’s rotation. Vertigo happens when debris (calcium crystal) moves out of its normal position and becomes dislodged into the semicircular canals in the inner ear. When the head is repositioned the vertigo is triggered.
Treatments may include a series of movements to correct vertigo that will restore the correct positioning of the crystals in the inner ear. The therapist will also assess the function of the eyes, ability to focus on a moving object, balance testing and an assessment of the neck. The goal is to determine the source of the dizziness and then implement the proper treatment and exercises.
BPPV an inner ear problem is the most common cause of vertigo and with early intervention and a proper diagnosis, the symptoms often resolve completely in 2 – 3 treatments.
During your first appointment, your therapist will listen to your story and record a detailed history about your injury, including how it happened, how severe, recovery goals and any medical concerns. Your therapist will then complete a thorough assessment of the vestibular system and neurological function. All findings will be shared with you, including prognosis, rehabilitation plan and expected time to recover. Our goal is to ensure that you understand your condition and what it will take to fully recover. Expect your visit to last 45 – 60 minutes.