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1440 Princess Street

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation is a customized exercise program designed to improve balance and decrease dizziness/vertigo in individuals who have inner ear (vestibular) disorders. There are many causes of dizziness and not all are the result of vestibular deficits. It is therefore recommended that you see a physician to rule out other causes of dizziness before starting physiotherapy.

Of all of the ear disorders that can cause vertigo, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common. This condition is characterized by spells of vertigo provoked by changes in head position such as lying down in bed, rolling over in bed, or looking up into a high shelf. The classic symptom is the sensation that the environment is spinning (vertigo).

BPPV is caused by microscopic crystals floating around in one of the compartments of the inner ear. Changes in head position results in movement of these crystals which stimulates sensory nerve endings and triggers spells of vertigo.

The standard treatment for BPPV is to perform a repositioning manoeuvre. During this procedure, the physiotherapist guides the patient through a series of positions designed to relocate the crystals to a part of the inner ear where they will not produce symptoms.

Other common inner ear disorders that can cause dizziness and vertigo include vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis.  Following the acute episode, residual dizziness and imbalance can be treated with vestibular rehabilitation programs that include specific vestibular exercises and balance training.

The physiotherapists at the Kingston Injury Management Centre – Physiotherapy Clinic have received post-graduate training in the assessment and treatment of vestibular dysfunction.