Do you frequently feel dizzy, lightheaded, or have trouble keeping your balance?
Are frequent headaches making life more difficult than it needs to be?
Have you faced an ongoing struggle with chronic pain or tightness in your neck?
If so, vestibular rehabilitation therapy treatments may be able to help you.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a unique physical therapy modality geared toward treating your vestibular system.
What is your vestibular system? And how can vestibular rehabilitation therapy help you live a healthier life?
Read on to find out.
What Is Your Vestibular System?
Your vestibular system is located mostly within your inner ear, inside a series of tubes called your vestibular labyrinth. It’s responsible for providing your brain with information about movement.
In particular, you can thank your vestibular system if you can:
- Keep your balance
- Keep your head stable atop your body
- Maintain a good posture
- Remain stable while you move
- Maintain your gaze on an object while moving
It’s a complex system with many moving parts. If you’re more scientifically minded, click here to learn more about how it works.
Do I Have A Vestibular System Disorder?
Though you may not recognize the phrase vestibular system disorder, these issues are more common than you may think. One study published in JAMA found more than a third of American adults 40 or older had experienced some sort of vestibular dysfunction.
People who have vestibular system disorder tend to have issues with balance. Symptoms can include:
- Dizzy spells or disorientation
- Dizziness with head movement
- Room-spinning, or feeling off balance
- Frequent falls
- Blurred vision, especially with motion
- Tightness or stiffness in the neck
- Pain in the neck
- Chronic headaches
- Difficulty focusing
- Nausea & vomiting
- Motion sickness
- Sensitivity to light
- Heart palpitations
- Chronic fear
What Is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?
Have you been diagnosed with a vestibular disorder?
Or, did you read the above list of symptoms and think “hey, that’s me!”?
If so, vestibular rehabilitation therapy may be able to help.
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is a form of physical therapy geared toward alleviating the problems caused by vestibular disorders.
In most cases, it’s difficult to restore vestibular function. So the focus of vestibular rehabilitation therapy is on helping you restore function by helping your body compensate. When your vestibular system is weakened, your brain can learn to use your other senses, like your vision or somatosensory ability, to substitute.
If you’ve experienced damage to your vestibular system, the issue may correct itself over time. Our bodies have an amazing way of helping keep us functioning and making up for damaged systems. But in other cases, you might need help.
That’s where vestibular rehabilitation therapy comes in.
Why Choose Capitol Physical Therapy?
If you related to the above symptoms, you might have a vestibular disorder. These disorders can make life more frustrating, but can actually be life-threatening as well. Consider how important it is to keep your balance while walking down a flight of stairs, or out on the ice in the cold winters here in DC. Falling can be disastrous.
With all that said, why choose Capitol Physical Therapy? With many different options for vestibular rehabilitation therapy, what makes Capitol Physical Therapy different?
Here at Capitol Physical Therapy, our vestibular rehabilitation therapy treatments are done by Valerie Rucker, who has received special training and certification from the Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy. These certifications make her uniquely qualified to perform vestibular rehabilitation therapy.
On top of that, she has also received training as a yoga instructor, which she incorporates into your treatments. Don’t worry – you won’t have to do any complicated poses. But this training has given Valerie an even deeper insight into how the body works than the average vestibular rehabilitation therapist.
Perhaps most importantly, though, your vestibular rehabilitation therapy treatment will be 100% customized toward your unique needs. If you’re hoping to optimize your performance for a specific hobby like a sport or a musical instrument, you’re worried about your safety after how often you lose your balance, or you’re just tired of having those embarrassing clumsy moments, Valerie can help.
Here at Capitol Physical Therapy, we’ll work with you to establish your unique needs, and come up with a treatment plan that’s best suited toward meeting them. Whatever your goals are, count on Capitol Physical Therapy to help.
Vestibular Therapy Exercises For Concussions, Vertigo, And More: What To Expect
Every case of vestibular disorder looks a little different.
This is why every vestibular rehabilitation therapy appointment begins with an extensive assessment. In particular, your vestibular rehabilitation therapist will:
- Ask you to describe your symptoms
- Check your ability to follow movement with your eyes
- Test your balance both while stationary and while moving
- Test your sensitivity to moving or changing your position
- Evaluate you to make sure your symptoms aren’t caused by a more serious issue
- Test for other contributing factors, including blood pressure and spinal issues
From there, your vestibular rehabilitation therapist will have a clearer picture of what your needs are and how to best treat them.
There are a number of different conditions vestibular therapy can help with, including:
- Post-concussion syndrome
- Late stage Meniere’s disease
- Bilateral vestibular hypofunction
- Chronic unilateral vestibular hypofunction
- Traumatic or acquired brain injury
- Vestibular migraine
- Anxiety-related dizziness
Vestibular Therapy Exercises
Broadly speaking, vestibular rehabilitation therapy uses three main forms of treatment.
Read on to find out how each of them works.
Do you often feel dizzy when you’re moving around? Do visual stimuli overwhelm you? If so, habituation exercises may be ideal for you.
Habituation exercises help by identifying the triggers for your dizziness, and repeatedly exposing you to them. By exposing you to your triggers and provoking your symptoms, your vestibular rehabilitation therapist will train your brain to ignore the faulty signals it gets from the inner ear.
Whether it’s frantic movie/TV shows, big crowds, loudly patterned surfaces, or something else that triggers your symptoms, habituation exercises can help.
Do you ever have dizziness when turning your head or while bending over?
Much like it sounds, gaze stabilization exercises can help you gain better control of your gaze.
This is an ideal method for those who have difficulty with their vision. In particular, if your vision seems to bounce around, especially while moving, gaze stabilization may help.
There are different types of gaze stabilization exercises, and your vestibular rehabilitation therapist will match you with the best one for your needs.
Do you have difficulty keeping your balance or prone to falling and hurting yourself? If so, your vestibular rehabilitation therapist may suggest balance training exercises.
It may sound like something a gymnast does. However, balance training exercises in relation to vestibular rehabilitation therapy are quite a bit different.
Exercises include visual and somatosensory cues to retrain your brain to compensate for issues in your vestibular system.
We may use a variety of props or simply your body to challenge and train your balance.
Book An Appointment With Capitol Physical Therapy
Do the symptoms of a vestibular disorder hit just a little too close to home for you?
Or, have you been diagnosed with a vestibular disorder by your doctor?
If so, Capitol Physical Therapy can help.
You’ll get access to some of the best vestibular rehabilitation services in Washington DC.
Find out how you can regain your balance, reduce your bruises, and live a safer, healthier, more fulfilling life.
Contact Capitol Physical Therapy, and enjoy the stability you’ve always dreamed of.