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Vestibular Physiotherapy, What is it and What can it Do for You?

Updated: Nov 21, 2023

Balance is a fundamental aspect of our daily lives, one that we often take for granted until it becomes a problem. Vestibular disorders are commonly misdiagnosed or left untreated and can significantly impact your quality of life. Vestibular Physiotherapy helps those experiencing dizziness and vertigo or those who have experienced a concussion, relieve their symptoms and go back to taking part in their regular daily activities. In this blog post, we'll explore what vestibular rehabilitation is, its benefits, and why it might be right for you.



What is it?


The human vestibular system is located in our inner ears that plays a crucial role in maintaining balance and orienting us in space. This system can be disrupted in many ways such as through age related changes, trauma (like concussions) or illness and infections. When the vestibular system is affected this can lead to symptoms like vertigo, dizziness, nausea, cognitive issues, fatigue and balance issues, and these symptoms can have significant impacts on quality of life. Fortunately, vestibular physiotherapy can be a highly effective conservative treatment that can alleviate these symptoms, provide patients with an understanding of their issues and empower patients to take part in managing their symptoms and taking back their lives.



A physiotherapist who is trained in vestibular rehabilitation has undergone continuing education in vestibular rehabilitation and is someone who has a keen interest the vestibular system and has sought out opportunities to learn more about how to help individuals who are struggling with vestibular dysfunction.



Did you know?


Dizziness and vertigo are not one in the same! Dizziness is an umbrella term used to describe many sensations including lightheadedness, swaying and disorientation.


Vertigo is actually a type of dizziness where the individual experiences the illusion of movement occurring in their environment. This distinction is important to understand as your specific symptoms can help lead to a more accurate diagnosis and ultimately a more effective treatment!


What can Vestibular Physiotherapy help with?


Vestibular physiotherapy can help you with:


  • Dizziness

  • Vertigo

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

    • The most common source of vertigo

  • Reduced balance

    • Whether age or trauma related

  • Concussion and Post-Concussion Syndrome

  • Difficulty with gaze stability

    • May present as difficulties with reading & focusing on tasks due to issues with vestibular system and can impact a child's performance in school.

  • Meniere’s Disease

  • Cervicogenic dizziness

  • Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS)

  • Vestibular Neuritis/Labrynthitis

  • Fall prevention


What to expect at from your initial Assessment


  1. You’re story is important to us. We want to be able to understand as much as we can about you and your concerns so that we can make sure our treatment approach caters to you, your goals and your specific needs.

  2. We will discuss the anatomy of the vestibular system and how this relates to your specific issues. We will do our best to answer your questions and help you gain insight into your issues so that you can be empowered to take part in your rehabilitation.

  3. We will conduct an objective assessment, where movements and tests will be performed to gain a better insight into what specifically is causing your symptoms and to help us form a treatment plan together to get you back to doing what you love to do!

  4. You will hopefully leave our session with a better understanding of your specific issue, with a plan of how we are going to treat/how you can manage your symptoms at home and hopefully feeling empowered, heard and having some relief in your symptoms.



Disclaimer:

Some of the objective testing may be provocative to your symptoms and may cause you some discomfort. Bringing up these uncomfortable symptoms in many cases is necessary to complete a thorough assessment and to provide you the proper treatment, but your capacity, willingness, and experience is of the utmost importance to us.




What to expect from follow-up sessions?


Everyone's treatment plan is specific to them as a person, to their assessment findings and their goals, so this will look different for everyone. However, we will continue on our work from the assessment to try and limit your symptoms, improve your function and empower you to be able to manage your symptoms and get back to doing things that are meaningful to you.



If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us via the contact form on the “Contact Us” tab.


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