Vestibular Rehab (VRT)
Vestibular rehabilitation (VRT) is an exercise-based program for reducing the symptoms of disequilibrium and dizziness associated with vestibular disease or disorder. VRT is a form of treatment involving specific exercises that can eliminate or significantly reduce symptoms by promoting central nervous system compensation or 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 Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis, and vestibular neuritis. Even individuals with long-term unresolved inner ear disorders who have undergone a period of medical management with little or no success may benefit. VRT can also help people with an acute or abrupt loss of function following surgery for vestibular problems.
Vestibular disorders often cause problems with balance and position or movement related dizziness; these are considered primary symptoms of vestibular malfunction. Secondary symptoms often accompany the primary symptoms and may include decreased strength, loss of range of motion, increased tension, muscle fatigue, and headaches. Both primary and secondary symptoms can affect an individual’s ability to change position or move without imbalance and vertigo. Dizziness is a symptom associated with vestibular disorders and can have a debilitating effect on one’s life, decreasing quality of life, reducing employability, and complicating many or all aspects of life. Vestibular rehabilitation is a highly specialized form of therapy which is designed to alleviate primary and secondary symptoms resulting from vestibular disorders.
At CRI, our therapists will evaluate you to determine the cause and severity of your symptoms. A thorough evaluation may include: a medical history questionnaire, eye movement and vision assessment, vertigo assessment, movement and positioning assessment, balance and gait assessment, musculoskeletal assessment and functional abilities assessment and assessment of compensatory strategies. Using the evaluation results, your therapist will design an individualized treatment plan to address your symptoms and optimize your functional abilities and quality of life. Treatments may include specialized techniques such as canalith repositioning procedure or Epley maneuver as well as habituation exercises, strengthening, flexibility, exercises and balance training incorporating vestibular function to optimize vestibular function and balance. Treatments and exercises vary depending on the type of inner-ear disorder and the associated symptoms. It is important to de-condition any compensatory strategies you may have developed while dealing with primary and secondary symptoms of vestibular dysfunction. Compensatory strategies often develop naturally as you learn to function and “deal with” or avoid your symptoms; initially compensations help you to handle your symptoms. Unfortunately, in the long run, compensations may lead to further complications and decrease your ability to adjust to your vestibular problem and ultimately worsen your symptoms. Your individual program will be designed to ensure you restore normal movement patterns and no longer need your compensatory strategies. At CRI we progress your vestibular rehabilitation to include balance and typical functional activities to ensure maximum safety while returning to function. The overall goals of vestibular rehabilitation include decreasing dizziness and visual symptoms, improving balance and walking, and improving general activity levels to improve your quality of life.
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At CRI, treatment sessions are typically 1 hour each, giving clinicians time to address both physical and functional impairments.