Vestibular therapy is a type of physical therapy that focuses on treating vestibular disorders, which are conditions that affect the inner ear and the body’s ability to maintain balance and spatial orientation. The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that control balance and eye movements.
Vestibular therapy involves a series of exercises and activities designed to improve the function of the vestibular system and help patients regain their balance and reduce symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, and nausea. The therapy may include:
- Habituation exercises: These involve repeated exposure to specific movements or positions that trigger symptoms, with the goal of desensitizing the vestibular system over time.
- Gaze stabilization exercises: These exercises are designed to improve the ability to maintain focus on a stationary object while the head is in motion.
- Balance training: This involves exercises to improve balance and stability, such as standing on one leg or walking on a foam mat.
- Canalith repositioning maneuvers: These are specific head and body movements used to treat a common type of vestibular disorder called benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
- Strengthening and conditioning exercises: These exercises are aimed at improving overall physical fitness and strength, which can help reduce the risk of falls and improve quality of life.
Vestibular therapy is typically done under the guidance of a licensed physical therapist with specialized training in vestibular rehabilitation. The specific course of therapy will depend on the patient’s individual needs and the underlying condition being treated.