Vestibular rehabilitation and exercises

A woman on an exercise ball for vestibular rehabilitation.

Whether it is chronic or caused by an injury or disorder, dizziness can negatively affect different aspects of your life, such as your physical, mental, and emotional states. It can also have a significant impact on your functional capacity and overall quality of life. Expert physiotherapists highly recommend vestibular rehabilitation and exercises to alleviate dizziness and other symptoms caused primarily by a dysfunctional vestibular system.

What is vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT)?

To treat and improve symptoms caused by vestibular conditions, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is prescribed to patients. This is an exercise-based form of physiotherapy that is fundamentally intended to alleviate both primary and secondary problems due to vestibular disorders. It can also address impairments due to dysfunction in the vestibular system.

How do vestibular rehabilitation and exercises work?

Consistency is the key to your success during vestibular rehabilitation. Therapists recommended that exercises be performed a minimum of 2 to 3 times a day. These exercises are not quite difficult, but they can be tedious. Due to the recommended frequency, it might be hard to incorporate vestibular rehabilitation and exercises into your busy schedule. Experts suggest that you set up a regular schedule so the exercises can eventually be incorporated into your daily routine. Again, consistency plays a pivotal role in this kind of therapy.

If you notice that the vestibular rehabilitation exercises are somewhat increasing your symptoms, you can consult your therapist. However, this is most likely because you are doing the exercises properly and also appropriately stimulating your vestibular system. It is worth noting that time and consistency in the exercises will help decrease symptoms that are causing you discomfort. These symptoms will keep decreasing until they become more manageable and, ultimately, resolved.

What are the exercises used in vestibular rehabilitation?

Since there are different types of vestibular impairments and each type affects everyone differently, every patient's vestibular rehabilitation and exercises may vary from each other.

Here are some of the exercises typically used in vestibular rehabilitation therapy:

Habituation Exercises

Symptoms of dizziness caused by head motion and visual stimuli are usually treated using habituation exercises. Fundamentally, these exercisess are programmed to reduce symptoms through repeated exposure to specific movements.

You can do this type of exercise if you experience dizziness whenever you turn your head quickly or when your position changes, like when you are bending forward to tie your shoe laces or when you are looking upwards. In addition, patients who have a hard time adjusting to highly visually stimulating environments can also benefit from habituation exercises.

Gaze Stabilization Exercises

The primary purpose of gaze stabilization exercises is to help patients who experience wriggling, shaking, shifting, or moving of their visual world when they are reading, walking, or even just changing positions. This type of exercise can significantly improve your visual acuity and steadiness during head movements.

Balance training exercises

The main goal of balance training exercises is to aid in the improvement of the patients' steadiness so that they will be able to successfully participate in daily living activities. These exercises will help you improve your ability to walk outside on uneven ground or in a dark environment.

To sum it up, vestibular rehabilitation and exercises are beneficial for patients suffering from symptoms of different vestibular conditions.

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