What is Vestibular Rehabilitation?

By Darwin Paulraj, Physiotherapist

Vestibular Rehabilitation is a form of physiotherapy that is designed to relieve symptoms caused by disorders of the inner ear. Our vestibular physiotherapist looks at three main areas, such as unilateral (one-sided) and bilateral (double-sided) vestibular hypo-function, central vestibular disorders, and the most common type of vertigo: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Common symptoms that people experience are feeling dizzy, having trouble focusing, feeling off balance, and falling. In the long run, recovery relies on many factors, such as your activity level, level of pain, any medical conditions you have, and emotional concerns.

What is the Vestibular System?

Good question! Your vestibular system is located in your inner ear. This system is all about balance, controlling your movement, and knowing where things are in relation to your body. All in all, the vestibular system keeps you standing upright and moving forward! This major system consists of three components:

  1. The visual system
  2. The vestibular apparatus of the inner ear
  3. The somatosensory system

The vestibular apparatus is a system located inside your inner ear. It is responsible for sensing gravity and the space around you. It has five sensory organs, which include three semicircular canals, and two otolith organs. These organs are called the utricle and the saccule, and they are responsible for your spatial awareness. In summary, this tiny system is crucial for keeping you from knocking into objects and falling over.

Who Can Benefit from Vestibular Rehabilitation?

Patients who are experiencing the following symptoms may be good candidates for Vestibular Rehabilitation. Check out the list below and then see if any of these apply to you!

  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Dizziness
  • Vertigo
  • Neck aches
  • Light-headedness
  • Shakiness
  • Swaying
  • Spinning
  • Sensations of “fullness” or “pressure” in the ears
  • Sudden hearing loss
  • Loss of balance

What Does an Appointment with Our Vestibular Physiotherapist Include?

Before your first visit, you will fill out a few questions to help us decide if vestibular rehabilitation is a good fit for your needs. Afterwards, you will meet your vestibular physiotherapist! They will perform a few tests specifically to narrow down your list of potential issues. Here is what to expect.

  • Firstly, they will use vestibular goggles to examine how well you can control your eye movements. These funny goggles are important for testing vision.
  • Secondly, your therapist will ask you to walk around and move a bunch. This is going to help you two figure out what’s going on with your balance.
  • Thirdly, they will look over your test results with you, which will help you learn more about what’s going on.
  • Fourthly, they will provide you with an exercise therapy plan that you will then take home.

In conclusion, following your treatment plan is crucial for you to recover as smoothly as you can. Our goal is to help you feel better and stand tall. Literally!

If you feel like this hits close to home,  book an appointment with us today by calling 403-343-8891. You can also book with us online here.