Vestibular issues result from damage or disease to parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. Patients can develop vertigo, experience dizziness and balance issues that can negatively impact daily activities. In some people, it can lead to catastrophic falls. People who have suffered strokes or have Parkinson’s disease can also greatly benefit from select therapies to help them restore motion and function for a more active life.
Our specialized care offers customized treatment plans that often incorporate physical therapy to address any underlying orthopedic issues. Our Costa Mesa office has expanded our capabilities with computerized testing and training. This allows for more robust testing that is quicker and more efficient resulting in faster recoveries using personalized treatment plans that are more enjoyable and fun.
Conditions commonly treated with these protocols include:
- Neurologic & Vestibular Disorders
- Elderly Fall Prevention
- Post-Surgical Rehabilitation
Vertigo is the sensation of spinning—even when you are perfectly still, you might feel like you are moving or that the room is moving around you. Most causes of vertigo involve the inner ear, or the “vestibular system.” A number of conditions are responsible for producing vertigo, such as:
- Inner ear infections or disorders
- Tumors such as acoustic neuroma
- Surgery that removes or injures the inner ear and/or its nerves
- Head injury that results in injury to the inner ears
- A hole in the inner ear
You might also experience:
- Abnormal eye movements
One of the most common forms of vertigo is benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), an inner ear problem that causes short periods of a spinning sensation when your head is moved into certain positions.
How can a physical therapist help?
Based on your physical therapist’s evaluation and your goals for recovery, the therapist will customize a treatment plan for you. The specific treatments will depend on the cause of your vertigo. Your therapist’s main focus is to help you get moving again and manage the vertigo at the same time. Treatment may include specialized head and neck movements or other exercises to help eliminate your symptoms. Conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo have very specific tests and treatments.
If you continue to experience dizziness and balance problems after your vertigo has dissipated, your physical therapist can develop a treatment plan that targets those problems. Your physical therapist will teach you strategies to help you cope with your symptoms:
- Do certain activities or chores around the house cause you to become dizzy? Your therapist will show you how to do those activities in a different way to help reduce the dizziness.
- Have simple activities become difficult and cause fatigue and more dizziness? Your therapist will help you work through these symptoms right away so you can get moving again and return to your duties at home and at work more quickly.
- Physical therapy treatments for dizziness can take many forms. The type of exercise that your therapist designs for you will depend on your unique problems and might include:
- Exercises to improve your balance
- Exercises to help the brain “correct” differences between your inner ears
- Exercises to improve your ability to focus your eyes and vision
In addition, your physical therapist might prescribe exercises to improve your strength, your flexibility, and your heart health—with the goal of improving your overall physical health and well being.