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What Is Vestibular Therapy?

If you are dizzy, it may be because you have an inner ear (or vestibular) disorder. Physical therapists specialize in a type of therapy called vestibular rehabilitation where they work to improve the symptoms of dizziness, as well as any balance problems you may have.

Vestibular rehabilitation is designed to improve your body’s muscle movements by reducing vertigo, dizziness, instability, and falls through exercise. If needed, physical therapists will work with you to create interventions to resolve the cause of your dizziness and reduce the worst side effects. For example, physical therapists will often create an intervention if you have benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).

Balance Exercises

Physical therapists also work with patients to teach them exercises that help balance. These exercises increase stability, allowing patients to safely do normal, day-to-day activities. Balance exercises also help prevent falls, which are very common for older adults.

What Will My Appointment Be Like?

During your appointment, your specialist will perform a comprehensive clinical assessment that looks at:

  • a detailed history of your symptoms,
  • what makes the symptoms better and worse,
  • your medical history,
  • your medication history,
  • your history of falls,
  • and your current activity level and living situation.

Your therapist will also give you tests that screen your vision and vestibular system to see how well you can control your eye movements. Testing will also measure your:

  • muscle strength,
  • extremity and spine’s range of motion,
  • coordination,
  • posture and balance,
  • and walking ability.

Treatment: Personalized Exercise Plan

After your clinical assessment, your physical therapist will work with you to develop a customized exercise plan. Your exercise plan will be based on the results of your clinical assessment, as well as laboratory testing and imaging studies.

Your physical therapist will also ask you about your goals for rehabilitation to create the best exercise plan for you.