Vestibular Treatment and Balance Dysfunction
Vestibular dysfunction can present in the form of dizziness or vertigo in patients, greatly interfering with balance, stability, and inherently increasing the risk of falls or generalized fear of movement. Although the source of the problem can be due to many reasons, often times, vestibular dysfunction can be managed by physical therapy. Your Doctor of Physical Therapy can screen you to see if you have BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), a common cause of episodic dizziness, which can be effectively treated with special maneuvers. BPPV is caused by calcium carbonate crystals or debris collecting within the inner ear portion that specifically translates your sense of position, thus manifesting as vertigo, as a result of this sensory misinformation. BPPV, specifically, can present with episodes of transient vertigo triggered by movements such as turning the head and changing positions in and out of bed.
Other vestibular problems related to balance, proprioception, vision, and the inner ear can be treated through specific exercises that assist with developing and improving the neuromotor system behind balance and stability. These exercises can include anything from static balance, dynamic balance, balancing on uneven surfaces or wobble boards, visual gaze exercises with eye tracking and head movements, and the incorporation of functional training such as stability with gait and transfers.