8:00 AM - 5:00 PM Mon - Fri
(704) 541-3378

10370 Park Road, Suite 102
Charlotte, NC 28210
Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation

The vestibular system is a group of organs in the inner ear that works with the eyes and various muscles in the trunk and legs to maintain posture and provide balance. Occasionally this system becomes damaged and doesn’t function as well as it should, and this can cause dizziness and difficulty with balance. Our brain compensates for this by learning various alternative ways to maintain good posture and stability. However, sometimes these compensations create movements and habits that lead to pain and other problems. Vestibular Rehabilitation is a group of specific exercises that often include head, eye, and body movements that are designed to improve central nervous system compensation and can treat the symptoms of dizziness and loss of balance. These exercises may also include other strength and conditioning exercises to improve activities of daily living which may have been impaired by the vestibular disorder.

Common diagnoses involving the vestibular system that we commonly see in physical therapy are:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Meniere’s Disease
  • Migraine associated vertigo
  • Allergies
  • Effects of aging
  • Cervicogenic dizziness
  • Various autoimmune disorders

Treatment of vestibular dysfunction begins with a thorough evaluation which includes a medical history, an assessment of posture, gait, balance and various tests of coordination. Using the information gathered from the evaluation, an individualized plan of exercises and activities are developed to be performed in the clinic and at home. Occasionally the patient experiences a temporary increase in symptoms shortly after the program begins, but, in most cases balance improves over time if the exercises are correctly and faithfully performed. Muscle tension, headaches, and fatigue will diminish, and symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, and nausea will decrease or disappear. Many times, VRT is so successful that no other treatment is required.

The American Academy of Otolaryngology practice and advocacy guidelines position statement regarding Vestibular Rehabilitation was adopted as follows:
“Vestibular Rehabilitation, or Balance Retraining Therapy, is a scientifically based and clinically valid therapeutic modality for the treatment of persistent dizziness and postural instability due to incomplete compensation after peripheral vestibular or central nervous system injury. Vestibular rehabilitation is a valid form of therapy for dizziness and imbalance resulting from the medical or surgical treatment of vertigo disorders and for acute vertigo or persistent imbalance that may result from a variety of peripheral vestibular disorders. Balance Retraining Therapy is also of significant benefit for fall prevention in the elderly patient who may suffer from multiple sensory and motor impairments or for those who have sensory disruption with moving visual information.”

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