WHAT IS VESTIBULAR THERAPY?
The vestibular system, which includes the inner ear and its connections with the brain, is responsible for sensing head movement, keeping your eyes focused when you move your head, and helping you keep your balance. When the vestibular system is damaged by disease or injury, the brain does not receive accurate information about equilibrium and motion, often resulting in dizziness, balance, problems, and other symptoms. When these symptoms do not resolve on their own, vestibular therapy (VT) performed by a qualified physical therapist or occupational therapist can provide specific exercises and training to reduce or stop dizziness and improve balance and stability.
The goal of VT is to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system in coordination with vision and proprioception (sense of position of self and movement). Sometimes this may involve desensitizing the balance system to movements that provoke symptoms and at first may cause an increase in symptoms as the body and brain sort out a new pattern of movements. However, symptoms improve in most cases if exercises are correctly and consistently performed. Over time, VT can help muscle tension, headaches, fatigue, dizziness, and nausea diminish or resolve completely.
VESTIBULAR/OCULAR MOTOR SCREENING:
University of Michigan Teaching Videos:
- Gaze Stabilization Exercises: VOR 1
- Gaze Stabilization Exercises: VOR 2
- Walking with Head Movement
- Figure Eight Walking