Dizziness is one of the most common complaints a family practitioner will deal with day to day and some estimates suggest that 1 in 3 of us will have vestibular dysfunction (causing dizziness) at some point over a 3 year period.
Patients who have dizziness because of a peripheral cause (aka the balance system outside of the brain) report symptoms that include:
● Some visual disturbance
There are a number of causes of unilateral peripheral vestibular dysfunction, some rarer than others. These include:
● Meniere’s disease
● Vestibular neuritis (often caused by a viral infection)
● Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (known as BPPV)
What is vestibular rehabilitation therapy?
For patients that are having trouble with balance, there are a number of medication available. However, these can be used to more effect in combination with physiotherapy from specialist centers across the united states. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is done a trained and specialized physiotherapist who will assess your needs and recommend a personalized blend of different exercises and retraining regimes to help your particular balance problems.
These can involve a whole host of different techniques but a few are listed below:
● The Epley maneuver: This is highly effective for those patients suffering from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
● Gait drills: these can help you with walking
● Balance retraining guidance: these exercises help hone your balance so that dizziness and vertigo don’t take you off guard.
● Strength training: training groups of muscles can help the body respond to imbalance. Don’t worry – this isn’t bodybuilding! It just gets your core muscles to a point where they can react appropriately to instability.
● There are also other therapies that include symptom management (accepting you have balance issues and psychologically getting over this) and relaxation therapies
Does vestibular rehabilitation therapy?
Evidence-based medicine counts for a lot in this 21st century. Treatments that don’t have a good evidence base quickly fall by the wayside. Thankfully vestibular rehabilitation therapy has a large and growing body of research suggesting how beneficial it is. Many doctors consider a Cochrane review to be the highest form of evidence. Vestibular rehabilitation had a Cochrane review undertaken in 2015. A Cochrane review is a systematic review that looks at all the previous research published across the world and amalgamates it see if overall the treatment is working. The researchers pooled 39 scientific studies including more than 2440 patients and conclude
“ There is moderate to strong evidence that vestibular rehabilitation is a safe, effective management for unilateral peripheral vestibular dysfunction, based on a number of high-quality randomized controlled trials. There is moderate evidence that vestibular rehabilitation resolves symptoms and improves functioning in the medium term”
This is great news for anybody struggling with balance problems. If you or somebody you know has problems with dizziness and vertigo and thinks they might benefit from vestibular rehabilitation therapy – get in contact with a specialist physiotherapy clinic today.