Vestibular Rehabilitation Balance & Vertigo Disorders in Victoria
What is Vestibular Physiotherapy?
Vestibular physiotherapy addresses problems with your "Vestibular System". Your vestibular system commonly causes symptoms such as vertigo, dizziness, spinning, nausea and vomiting, light headedness, ringing in the ears (tinnitus), double-vision, or impaired balance.
Our Victoria Vestibular Physiotherapists have additional training and experience in the assessment and treatment of vertigo, dizziness and other vestibular issues, including poor balance.
What is the Vestibular System?
The vestibular system contributes to your balance and sense of spatial orientation. Your vestibular system comprises of two components:
- Semicircular canal system, which detects rotational movements
- Otoliths, which indicate linear accelerations.
The vestibular system sends signals primarily to your brainstem and neural structures that control eye movements, and your balance mechanisms. Your vestibular system is located in your inner ear.
Dizziness, Vertigo and balance issues are often caused by illnesses that affect the inner ear, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), migraine and inflammation of the inner ear balance apparatus (called vestibular neuritis). Dizziness may also be caused by low blood pressure, some heart problems (such as cardiac arrhythmias), anxiety disorders such as panic attacks or (uncommonly) by hypoglycaemia (low blood sugar). The therapy used to treat these conditions is known as Vestibular Rehabilitation. Our Certified Vestibular Therapy Clinicians can help patients recover from inner ear discrepancies due to injury or illness before it causes a loss of equilibrium, resulting in dizziness, vertigo, loss of balance and other unpleasant symptoms.At Shelbourne Physiotherapy we have specialized testing equipment and our specially trained Vestibular Physiotherapists Jennifer Kolot, Rosie Chamberlin and Andrew Mills can effectively treat these conditions for patients in the Greater Victoria area.
Vertigo and dizziness are symptoms rather than a disease. Vertigo refers to the sensation of spinning or whirling that occurs as a result of a disturbance in your balance (vestibular) system. Vertigo may be used to describe feelings of dizziness, lightheadedness, faintness, and unsteadiness.
Vertigo usually occurs as a result of a disorder in the vestibular system (structures of the inner ear, the vestibular nerve, brainstem, and cerebellum). Your vestibular system is responsible for integrating sensory stimuli and movement and for keeping objects in visual focus as the body moves.
When your head moves, signals are transmitted to the labyrinth, which is an apparatus in the inner ear that is made up of three semicircular canals surrounded by fluid. The labyrinth then transmits movement information to the vestibular nerve and the vestibular nerve carries the information to the brainstem and cerebellum (areas of the brain that control balance, posture, and motor coordination).
Symptoms of Dizziness and Vertigo
- A sensation of movement (including spinning), either of yourself or the external environment
- Unsteadiness, including finding it difficult to walk in a straight line
- Feeling ‘faint’
- Motion sensitivity
- Blurry or bouncy vision
- Visual sensitivity
- Further symptoms that may accompany dizziness include:
- Nausea and/or vomiting
- Ringing or other sounds in the ears (tinnitus)
- Difficulty hearing
- Staggering gait and loss of coordination (ataxia)
- Unusual eye movements, such as flitting of the eyes (nystagmus)
- Finding it difficult to see clearly when moving, for example, reading a sign while walking or driving
Inside the inner ear is a series of canals filled with fluid. These canals are oriented at different angles, and as the head moves, the movement of the fluid inside these canals tells the brain how far, how fast and in what direction the head is moving. This information is then used by the brain to move the eyes an equal and opposite amount, so that the image that is ‘seen’ by the eyes does not blur and remains clear.
What causes Dizziness, Vertigo and Vestibular Disorders?
Vestibular Disorders are common and can affect people of all ages and all walks of life. They are most often caused by;
- Head Trauma (car accidents, falls, contact sports)
- Ear Infections (Neuritis, Labyrinthitis)
- Certain Prescription Medications
- Stroke and/or Brain Injury
- Illness or Disease
- Inflammation in the inner ear
- neck joint dysfunction
- vestibular migraine
- acoustic neuroma
- Meniere's disease
Disorders of the inner ear account for about half of all cases of persistent (ongoing) dizziness. Disorders include Meniere’s disease, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) and vestibular neuritis. Your doctor will run some tests if you are suffering from vertigo (medical history, physical examination, blood pressure check, MRI scan in extreme cases), but may send you to a physiotherapist if BPPV is suspected.
If you suffer from BPPV our specially trained Physiotherapists Jennifer Kolot and Rosie Chamberlin can treat and manage this condition. They both practices at our Shelbourne Physiotherapy Cook Street Clinic location. Treatment will involve being tested using specilaized Visual goggles and Canalith positioning procedures, which are a special set of exercises designed to remove inner ear ‘crystals’ in BPPV. You will also be given advice on self management to prevent recurrence of the condition. Vestibular Rehabilitation is a drug-free approach involving specific exercises and manual therapy techniques designed to improve balance function, decrease dizziness/vertigo symptoms, and increase your general activity levels. Physiotherapist Andrew Mills is also a Herdman Certified Vestibular Therapist. He practices at our main Shelbourne Physiotherapy Clinic and can be reached at 250-598-9828 to book an appointmrnt.
*The American Academy of Otolaryngology practice and advocacy guidelines position statement regarding Vestibular Rehabilitation was adopted as follows:
“Vestibular Rehabilitation, or Balance Retraining Therapy, is a scientifically based and clinically valid therapeutic modality for the treatment of persistent dizziness and postural instability due to incomplete compensation after peripheral vestibular or central nervous system injury. Vestibular rehabilitation is a valid form of therapy for dizziness and imbalance resulting from the medical or surgical treatment of vertigo
disorders and for acute vertigo or persistent imbalance that may result from a variety of peripheral vestibular disorders. Balance Retraining Therapy is also of significant benefit for fall prevention in the elderly patient who may suffer from multiple sensory and motor impairments or for those who have sensory disruption with moving visual information.”
Vestibular Vertigo Balance Dizziness Physiotherapy Treatment in Victoria BC
Shelbourne Physiotherapy Cook Street Clinic-308-1175 Cook St. Victoria, BC V8V 4A1 CA
Phone: 250-381-9828 Website: http://www.physiotherapyvictoria.ca