Imagine the overwhelming feeling of not being able to safely walk to the mailbox without the world spinning before you. Envision that you are unable to get on a ladder to change a lightbulb without blacking out. More than a third of the adult population in the US that are age 40 and over are reported to have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction, according to Vestibular Disorders Association. This number jumps to 80% for Americans over 65.
Balance is something most healthy individuals take for granted. But for those who have vestibular dysfunction, balance is a constantly moving target. Vestibular dysfunction symptoms often include dizziness, vertigo, difficulty tracking things visually, problems with positional changes, hearing loss and ringing (tinnitus). These symptoms become part of a larger problem when the sensory processes that connect the inner ear with the brain become damaged.
Carol Mumford of Redmond was unable to walk correctly for more than six years due to bouts of extreme dizziness. She was desperate to get her life back and began working with Redmond physical therapist, Stefanie Turner, PT. After identifying the cause for Carol’s dizziness, Stefanie was able to develop a customized treatment program using vestibular rehabilitation.
It worked. Carol has regained function and has taken back her life.
“For the past six years, I have been unable to walk as well as I do now,” said Carol. I cannot say enough good things about Stefanie and the rest of the team at Step & Spine Physical Therapy.”
Treatment for vestibular dysfunction can be quite effective very quickly. The magic lies in properly diagnosing and treating the condition. There are several types of vestibular disorders. Identifying the cause(s) of the symptoms helps illuminate the best treatments.
The exercise-based vestibular rehabilitation programs that are utilized by physical therapists focus on teaching the brain to use multiple senses to regain function. From balance strategies and postural awareness to retraining motor control strategies, vestibular rehabilitation can make dramatic improvements in the lives of those with vestibular dysfunction.
Vestibular rehabilitation can often help people with the following conditions:
- Positional vertigo
- Balance and dizziness
- Typical vestibular diagnosis (such as BPPV, inner ear disease, Ménière’s disease, central and peripheral vestibular conditions)
- Problems with positional changes
- Visual tracking deficiency
- Fall risk
If you have concerns about concussion, vertigo, balance and dizziness or other symptoms of vestibular dysfunction, schedule an evaluation with a physical therapist. At Step & Spine Physical Therapy, we have specific therapists who are specially trained in treating people with vestibular disorders. We can help schedule you with the most appropriate physical therapist for your needs.