Dizziness, Vertigo & Balance
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a condition characterized by brief episodes of vertigo evoked by changes in the position of the head.
The diagnosis is established if there is a combination of typical symptoms with a positive Dix–Hallpike test, which is a maneuver that provokes both typical vertigo and torsional–vertical nystagmus and is diagnostic for the presence of canaliths in the posterior semicircular canal. Other diagnostic procedures can be performed to rule in or rule out other canals, as well as provide optimal and specific treatment strategies that include canalith repositioning procedures and if necessary, vestibular rehabilitation and manual therapy.
Our body’s sense of balance and spatial orientation is something we take for granted. But when illness or injury affects the body’s balancing system, it can lead to falls, reduced mobility, blurred vision, headaches, nausea, and other physical discomforts. The vestibular system, located in the inner ear, is often to blame. An important contributor to the body’s balancing, this system has three jobs to do:
Detect the position of the head in space and on the body
Ensure postural control
Contribute to coordination of head and eye movement
Individualized treatments include:
Vestibular Habituation/Adaptation Exercises: Based on the rationale that by repeating the movements that create dizziness or vertigo, the brain will adjust its response
Vestibular Ocular Exercises: Combine head and eye movements in progressively more complicated combinations and positions to reduce vertigo symptoms
Balance Retraining: Involves exercises designed to improve coordination of muscle responses, as well as the organization of sensory information for balance control
Gaze Stabilization Exercises: Reduce retinal image “slipping,” which contributes to the sense of imbalance
Compensatory Strategies: To help minimize the effects of vestibular loss of function
Cardiovascular Exercises: To increase endurance
Sensory Integration Strategies: Sensory and motor activities to help the brain better absorb and process sensory information
Posture Education and Instruction in Ideal Head and Body Positioning
Fall Prevention and Safety Training
How does vestibular therapy help?
Vestibular therapy is a kind of physical therapy that is geared specifically to inner ear disorders. First, you’ll receive a complete evaluation. After all, dizziness and vertigo can impede people in many different ways, so it’s important to determine exactly how the problem is affecting your balance and movement.
Our highly trained team of physical therapists will evaluate a number of factors, including reflexes, balance, leg strength and overall habits of movement. This allows us to put together an individualized treatment plan for you.
In many cases, patients receive instant relief from specialized head movements. These gentle adjustments are designed to dislodge crystals, when the problem is vertigo, or simply re-orient your senses, as with general dizziness. One or two sessions can often resolve the problem.
If additional treatment is needed, coordination and balance exercises will be part of your vestibular therapy. This training is devised to give you confidence in your ability to move without falling or stumbling, while also decreasing the symptoms of the vertigo or dizziness. In addition, the therapy will teach you how to maintain this ability on your own, which diminishes the risk of injury if future bouts of vertigo or dizziness occur.
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