Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is is a specialized form of therapy primarily designed to reduce the symptoms related to many vestibular (inner ear/balance) disorders. It is an exercise-based program primarily designed to reduce vertigo and dizziness, gaze instability, and/or imbalance and falls. People with vestibular disorders often experience symptoms such as vertigo and dizziness, gaze instability, and/or imbalance and falls. Other problems can also arise that are secondary to vestibular disorders, such as nausea and/or vomiting, reduced ability to focus or concentrate, and fatigue. These are the problems that rehabilitation aims to address.
Symptoms that can be treated with Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy include:
- Frequent falls
- Visual disturbance
- Neck tightness, stiffness, and/or pain
- Dizziness or blurry vision with head movements
- Imbalance or the need to hold onto objects when walking
- Generalized “dizziness, wooziness and foggy head” feelings
What to expect at your appointment
VRT begins with a clinical assessment that includes collecting a detailed history of your symptoms, information about medications, hearing or vision problems, other medical issues and administering different tests to more objectively evaluate your problems.
A customized exercise plan is developed from the findings of the clinical assessment and input from you about your goals for rehabilitation. For example, someone with gaze instability and dizziness due to vestibular neuritis (a deficit from a weakened inner ear) may be prescribed gaze stability and habituation exercises, and if the dizziness affects their balance this may also include balance exercises. The other part of the treatment is establishing an exercise program that can be performed regularly at home and education.