What is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)?
The vestibular system is located within the inner ear and the brain and is responsible for:
- Measuring movement
- Controlling balance
- Providing information for spatial orientation
- Stabilizing gaze and coordinating eye movements
Common symptoms of vestibular disorders include dizziness, vertigo, disequilibrium, and motion sensitivity. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) addresses these symptoms through activities that restore normal function. The goal of VRT is to decrease symptoms, improve balance, prevent falls, and allow for participation in daily, work, and recreational activities.
Who Will Benefit from VRT?
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy would benefit anyone with a history of vertigo or dizziness, motion sensitivity, falling, or persistent disequilibrium.
What to Expect from Your VRT
Your physical therapist will develop an individualized plan of care addressing your specific needs, which includes a home exercise program (HEP). The HEP is imperative to your improvement and must be performed 2-3 times per day. You will be expected to provoke your symptoms while performing your exercises, but they should diminish 15-30 minutes following completion of your HEP. As your symptoms decrease, the difficulty of the exercises will increase until the highest level of balance is attained. Your physical therapist can teach you how to progress your HEP and how to perform it safely.
What Conditions are Typically Treated?
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is typically utilized to treat the following conditions:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
- Bilateral and unilateral dysfunction
- Vestibular Neuritis
- Cervicogenic dizziness
- Post-surgical treatment following:
- Acoustic neuroma removal
- Labyrinthine fistulae
- Surgical management of Meniere’s Disease