Looking for vestibular therapy in Visalia or Hanford? Let us explain more about how we can help.
Vestibular Therapy Can Correct Most Balance Problems And Help Re-stabilize Your Life
The vestibular system is the sensory system that provides the brain with the most important information regarding the body’s sense of balance and spatial orientation, which allows it to smoothly coordinate your movements.
This system detects motion of the head—mainly through the inner ear, as well as the eyes, muscles, and joints—and based on this information it generates reflexes that are crucial for completing most daily activities. Some of these tasks include stabilizing our gaze and maintaining the posture of our head and body as you move.
When the vestibular system functions properly, most people are unaware of its existence and don’t think twice when performing physical tasks like walking on uneven surfaces or arising from bed in the middle of the night.
However, when the vestibular system becomes damaged in any way, it leads to a variety of symptoms, most notably dizziness, vertigo, and impaired balance.
There are several causes of dizziness and vertigo, each of which can affect balance in different ways. A condition called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the more common contributors. BPPV is a disorder of the inner ear that involves tiny calcium crystals, or rocks, which normally help to regulate balance.
Infection or inflammation can cause these rocks to detach and travel to other parts of the inner ear, where they trick the brain into perceiving motion even when the person is at rest. This results in brief periods of dizziness and disorientation that usually occur when lying down, turning over, or looking up.
Targeting the Vestibular System with Specific Exercises
Vestibular therapy is a service we offer to help patients with BPPV and other disorders that cause:
- dizziness, and
- balance problems.
Each vestibular therapy program is unique depending on which condition is present, but the goal is always to help patients restore their balance and navigate their surroundings more easily.
In each case we start by evaluating all areas of the body associated with balance to determine what condition is present and the degree of impairment. From there, we typically prescribe gaze stabilization exercises, which are designed to keep vision steady while making rapid side-to-side head turns and focusing on an object. This is intended to help the brain adapt to new signaling from the vestibular system.
What We Often Include When Performing Vestibular Therapy in Our Visalia or Hanford Offices
We also frequently prescribe balance retraining exercises, which involve shifting one’s body weight in various directions while standing to improve how information is sent to the brain, and a home-exercise program to help build on the gains made within our clinic
The effectiveness of physical therapy interventions for older patients with vertigo, dizziness, and balance disorders was evaluated in a recent systematic review, which is a robust review of all available medical literature on the topic. This review identified 22 relevant studies and concluded with the following statement after completing its analysis of these studies:
Vestibular rehabilitation in any variation seems to be effective in treating for older adults with vertigo, dizziness, and balance disorders
Come see us to get started on your vestibular therapy program
Therefore, if you’re dealing with a balance issue of any sort, regardless of your age, we strongly recommend coming in for a visit. Our physical therapists can help get to the root of your problem and start you on your way to a more stable life in which impaired balance is no longer a hindrance.