Vestibular therapy may be one of the most interesting groups of diagnoses we see in physical therapy. In some cases it becomes one of the few diagnoses that can be fixed in just one visit, a rarity in the world of healthcare in general! In other cases, we have to work with patients to develop a lifelong program to maintain abilities and compensate for various disease processes! Unfortunately, because of this complexity, many patients are left scrambling for answers, attempting home remedies proposed from various corners of the internet, or feeling as if there is no resolution for their problem for months and sometimes years on end!
The good news is that research has illuminated a great deal about this family of disorders, and better yet there are quite a few of us who find this research absolutely fascinating, and have spent far too much of our time learning about it!
While it is true that vestibular disorders can be complex in regards to various causes which can include anything from a physical injury to the bony canals that make up the vestibular sensory organ or the nerve that relays messages from this organ to the brain to autoimmune disorders directly attacking this system, a relatively simple set of tests that can be performed by qualified physical therapists and ENTs can often rule in direct issues over just a few visits, often with extremely non invasive testing.
The even better news is that the vast majority of the deficits that result from these disorder are often highly treatable, with the majority of patients recovering within anywhere from a few visits to a few weeks! It can be very important to find therapists and physicians well versed in these disorders, however, as the “classic vestibular exercises” that are often blanketed across all cases of dizziness are not useful for all types of vertigo, and can lead to the misconception that a particular patient is “untreatable” as they did not respond to something which, sensibly, did not apply to their particular condition!
We are lucky enough at Hohman to have quite a few of our family who have taken special interest in the treatment of these disorders, and our thorough exams and personalized treatments are designed with current research at the forefront!