Vestibular Physiotherapy is a specialist service offered by Physiotherapists who have been specifically trained to assess and treat vestibular problems such as vestibular neuritis/labyrinthitis, migraine associated dizziness and Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). Symptoms include dizziness, vertigo (room spin), nausea, vomiting and loss of balance, which can be very distressing and disabling for the individual.
The vestibular system refers to the two inner ear balance organs (left and right) that detect head movements. The inner ears, eyes and sensory receptors in the body send information to the brain to enable us to balance.
If there is a problem with one or both of the inner ears e.g. caused by a virus or loose/build up of chalk crystals in the inner ear, then inaccurate information is sent to the brain, which can cause the symptoms described above.
Following a physiotherapy vestibular assessment, the physiotherapist is able to determine what type of problem may be responsible for symptoms and can give appropriate treatment.
For example, the Physiotherapist may prescribe individualised vestibular rehabilitation exercises that aim to help the brain compensate for mismatched or inaccurate information received from the vestibular system, including visual and balance exercises. These exercises can be very effective when carried out regularly. However, recovery can be slow and take several months.
Alternatively, if the diagnosis is BPPV, then treatment will involve a repositioning manoeuvre e.g. Epley manoeuvre, usually performed on 1-2 occasions, designed to move the crystals back to their correct location.