233-E Bell Fork Rd.
Jacksonville, NC 28540
910-238-2259
fax: 888-209-9322
Services

Vestibular Rehabilitation - Balance & Fall Prevention

The Vestibular System

The Vestibular System, located in the inner ear, provides sensory information contributing to sense of equilibrium, sense of movement and head position, balance control and visual stabilization.  A person can experience significant difficulty with balance, dizziness or ability to control eye movement due to damage to their vestibular system. 

Common Symptoms Include:

  • Imbalance or Unsteadiness
  • Vertigo (spinning/whirling sensation)
  • Dizziness
  • Blurry Vision
  • Nausea
  • Hearing Changes
  • Problems with coordination, thinking, concentration or memory
  • Headaches
  • Motion Sensitivity
  • Sensitivity to noise and bright lights

Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

One of the most common reasons for room spinning dizziness with a change in head position such as lying down in bed, rolling over in bed, looking up at the ceiling or down at the floor is called Benign Positional Paroxysmal Vertigo, or BPPV.  This occurs when a cystaline substance from one vestibular organ ends up in one of the fluid filled vestibular organs causing increased sensation of rotating.  Fortunately, BPPV can often be easily managed within just a few treatment sessions. 

 

Vestibular Dysfunction

 Vestibular dysfunction occurs when there is damage to any of the vestibular organs, damage to the vestibular or auditory nerves or it may be related to brain injury.

 Causes of damage can be related to:

  • Whiplash or Head Trauma
  • Ear Infections
  • High doses of certain antibiotics
  • Migraines or Stroke
  • Often the cause can not be determined

 

With aging, there may be changes to the vestibular system and/or general balance due to multiple effects to a person’s strength, flexibility, coordination, sensation, and vision.

Vestibular Rehabilitation

When the vestibular system has been affected due to one of the above conditions the brain cannot rely on the information it is receiving from the vestibular system. The patient's ability to maintain balance is now dependent on vision and signaling from muscles and joints. This can lead the patient to compensate for the change by avoiding various head positions and movements because these increase their symptoms. The avoidances help decrease the number of instances of dizziness and nausea but result in headache, muscle stiffness, fatigue, and decreased ability for the brain to adapt to the change in the vestibular system. Overall these avoidances make symptoms worse and increase the need for Vestibular Rehabilitation.

Vestibular Rehabilitation is an exercise-based program designed to improve balance, improve walking gait, and reduce symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, motion sensitivity or disequilibrium. It can also include Gaze Stabilization and Canal Repositioning Maneuvers.  The goals are always to improve function with daily activities, reduce risk of falling and improve quality of life.

 

Balance and Fall Prevention

 After being evaluated, a personalized treatment program is developed to address balance, walking gait, flexibility and functional strength to reduce risk of falls, maximize independence with daily activities, and improve quality of life. 

 

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