It’s not unusual to get dizzy from certain activities such as riding on a carousel. But dizziness or vertigo can also indicate a problem in the system that helps us maintain our balance. Mercy Vestibular Rehabilitation may be able to help.
Dizziness or vertigo can occur when sensory information is distorted. For example, when someone reads while riding in a car, the inner ear senses the movement of the vehicle, but their eyes see only the book, which is not moving. The resulting sensory conflict may lead to the typical symptoms of motion sickness. (Read more about Motion Sickness >>)
But sometimes, dizziness has no apparent cause and it does not go away. The National Institute on Deafness and Other Communication Disorders (NIDCD) says a number of conditions can lead to dizziness or vertigo. They include Ménière’s disease, acoustic neuroma / vestibular schwannoma, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), and labyrinthitis.
Read more about balance disorders >>
Physical Therapy for Balance Disorders
Physical therapy, or vestibular rehabilitation, can used to treat certain balance disorders. Conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo and Ménière’s disease are candidates for such therapy. The Vestibular Disorders Association (VDA) says the goal is to retrain the brain to filter out confusing information from the inner ear and to use appropriate information, combined with other senses, such as seeing, to diminish or eliminate symptoms.
At Mercy, our skilled physical therapists are trained in vestibular disorders and treat:
- BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
- Central vestibular dysfunction (i.e. cerebellar ataxia)
- Unilateral vestibular hypofunction (i.e. Labyrinthitis – inner ear infection)
- Bilateral vestibular hypofunction
Vestibular therapy can also help patients suffering from unsteadiness, gait difficulty, persistent headache or neck pain, nausea, and ringing in the ears and hearing loss.
A typical outpatient will receive therapy 2-3 times a week for 4-6 weeks, unless the physical therapy evaluation determines otherwise.