What is the Vestibular System?
What is a Vestibular Disorder?
When a part of the vestibular system is affected by a condition or injury, it can cause symptoms of dizziness, vertigo (spinning sensation), visual disturbance, nausea, motion sensitivity, disequilibrium and/or imbalance. These symptoms can vary in severity, but may be severe and distressing in nature. As such, people with vestibular disorders often avoid activities which they have found to be provocative, leading to a cycle of reduced participation in everyday life. This can affect all aspects of home, work and social participation, causing reduced independence, changes in mood and reduced quality of life.
What is Vestibular Physiotherapy?
Vestibular Physiotherapy is a specialist area of physiotherapy aimed at reducing the primary symptoms of vestibular disorders and helping to improve the understanding of why the symptoms have persisted. Treatment will also aim to reduce any secondary issues that may occur (reduced mobility, weakness, stiffness and reduced confidence) with the aim of returning to normal activities of daily living.
Vestibular Physiotherapy will comprise of a subjective assessment to gain a thorough understanding of the onset, course and nature of the symptoms. This will be followed by an examination looking at eye and head movements, positional testing, standing, walking and balance.
A personalised treatment program will be devised that will depend on the assessment findings and the individual’s goals. This will usually include exercises to complete at home.
Some of the exercises and activities involved in vestibular rehabilitation can bring on symptoms as the body and brain relearn and adjust to the movement patterns. Evidence shows a reduction in symptoms and increase in function if these exercises are performed correctly and regularly in a gradual and supported manner.
Hobbs Rehabilitation Vestibular and Balance Service
Some common conditions that can be helped by vestibular rehabilitation
Inner ear conditions
• Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
• Vestibular Neuritis and Labyrinthitis
• Acoustic neuroma/vestibular schwannoma
• Bilateral vestibular hypofunction
• Ménières Disease
• Multiple Sclerosis
• Traumatic brain injury
• Vestibular migraine
• Persistent concussion symptoms
• Age related dizziness and imbalance
• Mal de Debarquement
• Multisensory causes
• Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)
• Visually induced dizziness