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Types of VRT

Types of VRT

Vestibular rehabilitation (VRT) is a treatment approach used by physiotherapists in order to reduce feelings of dizziness and vertigo and to improve balance problems caused by disorders of the inner ear. Disease and injury to the inner ear affects the vestibular system which is the controlling system for equilibrium and balance. This means the individual relies on vision and sensory information from muscles and joints in the lower limbs in order to maintain balance and an upright posture.

Your neurological physiotherapist will advise you on which type of vestibular rehabilitation is most useful for your symptoms and diagnosis. The long-term goals of VRT are to:

  • reduce the sensation of imbalance,
  • improve functional balance,
  • improve vision,
  • restore the individual to normal levels of activity.

Your specialist neurological physiotherapist will decide an appropriate treatment plan for the individual following a thorough neurological assessment. This will vary depending on symptoms and diagnosis. For example, for the treatment of BPPV, you physiotherapist may carry out the Epley manoeuvre which repositions particles in the semi-circular canal of the inner ear in order to relieve feelings of vertigo and nausea.

Your physiotherapist will teach you several VRT exercises to do following your neurological assessment. Gaze stabilisation exercises are used to improve vision and the ability to focus on a stationary object while the head is moving. The individual will need to practice these exercises several times a day at home. Often these exercises will make the symptoms worse in the short-term by bringing on feelings of dizziness and nausea. If this happens, it is important to pause and rest while the symptoms diminish before continuing. In the long-term these exercises reduce the retinal slip in the eyes thereby improving the vestibulocular response. The vestibulocular response is a reflex head movement that stabilises the image on the retina even when the head is moving. This helps you to read print even when your head is moving.

Your physiotherapist may also teach you postural substitution training exercises. These will help to improve your standing balance and will involve standing on uneven surfaces with and without your eyes open. By closing your eyes when carrying out these exercises, you must rely on your vestibular system and the somatosensory information provided by your muscles, ligaments and joint receptors.

If you would like to find out more information about vestibular rehabilitation and how it could help to improve your balance, please phone us now on 0161 883 0066 to speak to a neurological physiotherapist.

Vestibular Rehabilitation

To book an assessment or for more information please email call 0161 883 0066 .