Treating Inner Ear Disorders
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) focuses on inner ear disorders. The most commonly treated vestibular problem is BBPV- Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo. Symptoms associated with this disease include vertigo (dizziness) with movement and/or changes in position, unsteadiness, imbalance when walking and nausea. Other symptoms from different diagnoses include headaches, motion sickness, increased sensitivity to bright lights and noise, and difficulty with reading or speech. Frequently, blows to the head, ear infections, strokes, and high doses of certain antibiotics can also cause these symptoms.
Once a primary care physician or ear, nose, and throat specialist has confirmed a diagnosis, they will determine the appropriate course of treatment. Treatment options may include medications, diet changes, physical therapy, or in severe cases, surgery.
During vestibular rehab a licensed physical therapist evaluates the patient and works with the referring physician to create a program designed to help the brain adapt and compensate for the underlying physical causes of the dizziness.
The first day of physical therapy consists of a thorough evaluation focused on posture, balance, movement, and compensatory mechanisms. In the case of BPPV, Canalith Repositioning Techniques (CRT) are used to abolish the symptoms. When and if appropriate, the therapist will teach you the exercises at the clinic and distribute educational materials and additional exercises to be practiced several times a day at home.
At first these activities may exacerbate the symptoms, but with time and consistent work, the symptoms will steadily improve and may even disappear completely.