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Dizziness and Vertigo

The inner ear.

What is vestibular rehabilitation?

Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based program, designed by a specialty-trained vestibular physical therapist, to improve balance and reduce problems related to dizziness.


How is dizziness defined?

Dizziness can be described as:

  • Feelings of unsteadiness

  • Wooziness (swimming feeling in head)

  • Lightheadedness

  • Feelings of passing out

  • Sensations of moving

  • Spinning

  • Floating

  • Swaying


These feelings or sensations can occur when you are standing still, lying down or changing positions. The symptoms can be constant or episodic in nature, only lasting seconds, minutes or hours.

What causes dizziness?

Each year, more than 10 million patients visit a physical therapy due to dizziness. It is the most common complaint of patients over the age of range 45-75, but it can occur in patients of any age.

Dizziness is generally not serious, but is often a sign of a mechanical problem. Dizziness can be due to an inner ear disorder, a side effect of medications, a sign of neck dysfunction, or it can be due to a more serious problem such as a brain or a heart problem.

Who benefits from vestibular rehabilitation?

Patients typically referred for vestibular rehabilitation therapy are those diagnosed with dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, Meniere’s syndrome, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), neck-related dizziness and migraines. Other candidates are patients who have had a stroke or brain injury or who frequently fall.

Common symptoms that can be helped with vestibular rehabilitation include:

  • Dizziness or blurry vision with head movements

  • Neck tightness, stiffness and/or pain

  • Imbalance or the need to hold onto objects when walking

  • Headaches

  • Frequent falls

  • Generalized “dizziness, wooziness and foggy head” feelings

  • Vertigo/spinning

At your appointment, a physical therapist will evaluate your symptoms and review your medical history. Your assessment will include all or part of the following areas:

  • Balance and/or leg strength/flexibility

  • Gait (how you walk)

  • Visual stability and mobility

  • Neck mobility and neck and arm strength


Treatment for Vertigo

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