What is the vestibular system?
The vestibular system allows us to sense our body’s movement and head position. It consists of the semicircular canals and the otolith organs in the inner ear, the brain, and the nerves that carry the information from the inner ear to the brain. The vestibular system helps us to control our balance and eye movements.
What is vestibular dysfunction?
Vestibular dysfunction occurs when there are problems in any area of the vestibular system, resulting in a range of one or more symptoms.
What are the signs and symptoms?
Vestibular dysfunction can result in one or more of the following symptoms:
- Vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Nausea or vomiting
- Poor balance or falls
- Blurry vision
What causes vestibular dysfunction?
The vestibular system can be damaged. This damage can result in vestibular dysfunction and one or more of the previously mentioned symptoms.
Possible causes of vestibular dysfunction include:
- Trauma (motor vehicle accidents, falls, contact sports, blows to the head),
- Inner ear infections
Treatment can include:
- The Epley Maneuver or Canalith Repositioning Procedure to treat BPPV (Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo)
- Gaze stabilization techniques: these are used to improve the eyes’ ability to focus while the head is moving
- Habituation techniques: these help the brain reduce or eliminate symptoms provoked by movement
- Balance training: this is used to address unsteadiness or falls during standing or walking
- Neck mobilization and myofascial release: this is used to address contributing factors from the neck area
Dizziness Caused by Vestibular Disorders
The vestibular system includes the parts of the inner ear and brain that process sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. If disease or injury damages these processing areas, vestibular disorders can result.
Symptoms of vestibular disorders include spinning or whirling sensation, light-headedness, floating or rocking sensations.
For more information about Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy, download the following link courtesy of the Vestibular Disorders Association. http://vestibular.org/vestibular-disorders/treatment/vestibular-rehab.php
Free downloadable brochures from VEDA are also available regarding specific conditions:
- Causes Of Dizziness
- Vestibular Disorders – An Overview
- Diagnostic Tests For Vestibular Problems
- Tinnitus – Ringing In The Ears, an Overview
Flow Chart – Illustrating Balance As A Complex System Of Sensory Input, Sensory Integration, And Motor Output
To book an appointment for Vestibular Rehabilitation in our physiotherapy clinic in New Westminster or to speak to our therapist, call 604-524-4446.