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Quality Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is an exercise-based program designed to improve balance and eye movement control. It can help to reduce dizziness, vertigo, and nausea. VRT may also help to improve your ability to walk and climb stairs, and to rehabilitate your brain after a concussion.

VRT is often used to treat vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis, which are conditions that cause inflammation of the vestibular system. VRT may also be used to treat Meniere's disease, a condition that affects the inner ear and can cause vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus.

The goal of VRT is to retrain your brain to compensate for the loss of vestibular function. This can help to reduce or eliminate symptoms of dizziness and vertigo. VRT is usually done by a physical therapist or other health care provider with special training in vestibular rehabilitation.

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy typically consists of three phases:

Phase 1: Vestibular adaptation exercises are designed to help your brain adapt to the loss of vestibular function. These exercises may include head and eye movements, and gaze stabilization (keeping your eyes focused while your head moves) to help strengthen different areas of your vestibular system and reduce your symptoms (especially headaches, fogginess, dizziness, and blurry vision), whether from a concussion or vestibular dysfunction. We also perform canalith-repositioning maneuvers to correct displaced crystals if necessary (BPPV patients), which can also occur along with a concussion.

Phase 2: Vestibular substitution exercises are designed to help your brain learn to use other cues, such as vision, somatosensory (touch), and proprioception (sense of position), to maintain balance. These exercises may include balance training on different surfaces to prepare you for daily tasks. Vestibular habituation exercises are designed to desensitize your system to motions that make you dizzy. The goal is to get your system used to the motion so that it no longer provokes your symptoms. These exercises may include repetition of certain movements and practice changing positions. Concussion rehab specifically focuses on graded progressions to restore your prior level of function.

Phase 3: Functional retraining exercises are designed to help you regain confidence in your ability to function normally. These may include activities such as walking, navigating obstacles, stair climbing, and multi-tasking. Concussion treatment focuses on graded sport-specific practice to facilitate safe return to sport and daily tasks.

If you are experiencing symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, or have experienced a concussion, vestibular rehabilitation therapy may be an effective treatment option for you. If you would like to learn more about vestibular rehabilitation therapy, contact Sunshine Physical Therapy and Wellness.

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