Vertigo is often described as a spinning sensation, dizziness and disorientation, and can significantly disrupt daily life. Many individuals suffering from vertigo seek effective treatments to alleviate their symptoms and regain their balance. One promising approach is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT), a specialised form of physical therapy that targets the underlying causes of vertigo.
In this article, Vim Health explores how VRT works and how it can help individuals overcome vertigo and its associated challenges
Vertigo is a vestibular disorder affecting the vestibular system, a complex sensory system located within the inner ear. This system maintains balance, orientation and eye movement control. It works with the visual and proprioceptive systems to help us maintain stability and a sense of where our body is in space.
When the vestibular system is disrupted or damaged, it can lead to various vestibular disorders. These disorders can significantly impact a person’s daily life, causing symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo (a sensation of spinning or whirling), imbalance, and difficulty with coordination and spatial awareness.
Understanding vertigo and its causes
Vertigo is often linked to issues within the vestibular system, which controls our sense of balance and spatial orientation. Common causes of vertigo include:
- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV): Displaced crystals in the inner ear disrupt the normal flow of fluid, triggering brief episodes of vertigo triggered by head movements.
- Vestibular Neuritis: Inflammation of the vestibular nerve, often caused by viral infections, leading to sudden vertigo, nausea, and balance issues.
- Meniere’s Disease: An inner ear disorder characterized by episodes of severe vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus (ringing in the ears).
- Labyrinthitis: Inflammation of the inner ear due to viral or bacterial infections, leading to vertigo, hearing loss, and imbalance.
- Other Vestibular Disorders: Various medical conditions and injuries can impact the vestibular system, causing vertigo and related symptoms.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)
VRT is a specialised physical therapy designed to improve the vestibular system’s function and alleviate vertigo symptoms. It aims to promote adaptation and compensation within the brain, helping it to adjust to the abnormal signals causing vertigo.
Components of VRT:
- Assessment: A qualified physiotherapist trained in vestibular rehabilitation will perform a thorough evaluation to identify the type and severity of vertigo. This assessment helps tailor the treatment plan to the individual’s needs.
- Customized Exercise Plan: A physiotherapist will create a personalized exercise program based on the assessment. These exercises stimulate the vestibular system, gradually desensitizing it to vertigo triggers.
- Habituation Exercises: These exercises involve controlled exposure to movements that provoke vertigo. Over time, repeated exposure helps the brain adapt and reduce its sensitivity to these triggers.
- Gaze Stabilization Exercises: These exercises focus on improving the ability to maintain a steady gaze while moving the head. They enhance visual stability and can significantly reduce dizziness.
- Balance and Coordination Training: VRT includes exercises that challenge balance and coordination, helping individuals regain movement stability.
- Canalith Repositioning Manoeuvres: For BPPV, you can perform specific manoeuvres to guide displaced inner ear crystals back to their proper position, relieving vertigo.
- Progressive Approach: VRT gradually increases the intensity of exercises as the individual’s tolerance improves, helping the brain adapt more effectively.
Benefits of VRT:
- Reduced Vertigo: VRT helps individuals experience a reduction in vertigo episodes and their severity.
- Improved Balance: The therapy’s focus on balance and coordination exercises enhances overall stability and reduces the risk of falls.
- Enhanced Quality of Life: By addressing the root cause of vertigo, VRT can significantly improve an individual’s daily functioning and overall well-being.
- Empowerment: Individuals learn strategies to manage vertigo triggers and regain control over their symptoms.
Vertigo can be debilitating, but it’s essential to know that effective treatment options exist. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) offers a comprehensive, evidence-based approach to alleviating vertigo symptoms. By working with a qualified physiotherapist, individuals can journey to regain their balance, reduce dizziness, and reclaim their quality of life.
VIM Health provides vestibular physiotherapy sessions, including various treatments for individuals suffering from dizziness, Vestibular Neuritis, BPPV, Vestibular migraines, Vertigo, Meniere’s disease and Labyrinthitis. If you or someone you know struggles with vertigo, contact Vim Health to discuss the VRT treatment they have available.
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