WHAT IS VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION THERAPY?
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is an exercise-based program designed to promote central nervous system compensation for inner ear deficits. VRT can help with a variety of vestibular problems, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and the unilateral or bilateral vestibular hypofunction (reduced inner ear function on one or both sides) associated with Ménière’s disease, labyrinthitis, and vestibular neuritis. Individuals with long-term unresolved inner ear disorders who have undergone a period of medical management with little or no success may also benefit. VRT can also help people with an acute or abrupt loss of vestibular function following surgery for vestibular problems.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING VRT?
A Lincoln Orthopedic Physical Therapist will perform a thorough evaluation that begins with a medical history and includes observing and measuring posture, balance and gait, and compensatory strategies. The assessment may also include eye-head coordination tests that measure how well a person’s eyes track a moving object with or without head movement. Other assessments may be used, such as a questionnaire measuring the frequency and severity of symptoms and associated lifestyle changes.
Using the evaluation results, our Therapists will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes specific head, body, and eye exercises to be performed both in the therapy setting and at home. These exercises are designed to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system and coordinate them with information from vision and proprioception. This often involves desensitizing the balance system to movements that provoke symptoms, and increasing home-based activities and exercise in order to strengthen muscles.