Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialized area of physiotherapy practice. Treatment can vary from client to client and is highly dependent upon identifying the true cause of your symptoms. While the presentation of vestibular symptoms can be very similar between people, these symptoms can be coming from a number of different sources. In order to effectively treat and manage your symptoms, it is essential to properly identify the cause. Together with your physiotherapist, you will work to identify this source, and develop an appropriate treatment plan to address your symptoms.
Some of the reasons you may seek out a vestibular rehabilitation assessment include the following:
Your assessment will always begin with a discussion regarding your symptoms, past medical history, and potential contributing factors. Your physical exam may involve assessment of your neck, eyes, gait, balance, motion sensitivities, and/or assessment for BPPV (see below). This will help to determine the best care for you.
If your therapist determines you have BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), this will be treated immediately. Patients presenting with BPPV often have their symptoms fully resolve with only 1-3 treatments. BPPV is a very common cause of vertigo, which occurs when particles in your inner ear have become displaced and require repositioning. This will be done with your therapist in clinic.
If your symptoms are not due to BPPV, treatment duration can be quite variable, and will often involve exercises that you will work on to help resolve your symptoms. Your therapist will work with you to explain the cause of your symptoms, and the rationale for the exercises given.
Common questions about Vestibular Rehabilitation
Is the assessment going to make me feel dizzy or bring on my symptoms?
To properly assess your symptoms, your therapist will perform tests to help identify the cause of your symptoms. Unfortunately, this assessment does often bring on your symptoms to some degree. This will be done in a controlled fashion and within your tolerance during your session.
Can I drive myself to and from my appointment?
We ask that you bring a driver to your initial assessment due to the nature of your symptoms. After diagnosing the source of your symptoms, your therapist will educate you as to whether a driver is required for follow up visits.
How long will it take to resolve my symptoms?
This is dependent on the source of your vestibular symptoms and how responsive you are to rehabilitation. However, most patients with BPPV resolve within 1-3 sessions, and most vestibular rehabilitation patients improve consistently over 1-4 months. An important part of the physiotherapists role in vestibular assessment is to help with diagnosis of your symptoms. If it is determined that physiotherapy is not the best intervention for you, we can communicate with your doctor re: appropriate follow up.