Vertigo, dizziness, imbalance, tilting of the environment, nausea, and motion sickness are all symptoms that may be associated with vestibular (inner ear) disorders. Vestibular rehabilitation is a program designed to restore the vestibular system back to optimal health. Through the use of specific exercises and when needed, hands-on treatment, rehabilitation can compensate for the deficit, and in some cases, the pathology can be corrected.
In many cases, the cause of vestibular disorder cannot be determined. Some possible causes include:
- Head Trauma
- Ear Infections
- High doses or long term use of certain antibiotics
- If the flow of blood to the inner ear is reduced or blocked (strokes), the vestibular system may be damaged.
- Diagnosis begins with a physical exam by a physician to rule out other causes of dizziness.
- Vestibular testing can be done to try to pinpoint the disorder.
- Balance testing may also be done since balance is an essential component of vestibular function.
Disorders Treated with Vestibular Rehabilitation
Unilateral Vestibular Dysfunction
- Weakness along one side of the vestibular system.
- Symptoms include loss of balance, wooziness when turning the head, and sometimes oscillopsia (illusion that things are moving up and down, when you are walking).
BPPV (Benign Paroxsymal Positional Vertigo)
- BPPV is caused when the crystals in the inner ear become dislodged. These crystals move into the canals of the ear when the patient moves the head into certain positions.
- Symptoms include vertigo that can be triggered by lying down, rolling over in bed, getting out of bed, looking up, and bending forward.
There are treatments for people who have vestibular disorders. The goals of vestibular rehabilitation are to:
- Decrease Dizziness
- Increase Balance Function
- Increase General Activity Levels
Treatment for vestibular disorders is available at Franklin Memorial Hospital. If you feel that you or someone you know would benefit from vestibular rehabilitation, contact your physician. You will need a referral to be seen for treatment.
To get a referral or to schedule an appointment, contact your family physician or call the Physical Rehabilitation Department at Franklin Memorial Hospital at 207-779-2620.