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The Role of Balance Therapy in The Treatment of Vestibular Injuries

The Role Of Balance Therapy In The Treatment Of Vestibular Injuries

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Do you often face uncontrollable dizziness? Issues with your vestibular system can significantly impair your balance and spatial orientation, making it difficult to complete everyday tasks like bathing, walking, and dressing yourself. However, if you have a vestibular injury or abnormality, a balance therapy program may benefit you.

Below, Dr. Ashwin Malhotra, a top neurologist in NYC who specializes in treating neurologic injuries and disabilities, describes Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C.’s notable vestibular rehabilitation program. These types of programs may help you lead a more independent life if you’re facing balance issues.

Common Vestibular Injuries That May Benefit From Balance Therapy

Several health conditions can impair your balance, with vertigo the most common type of vestibular abnormality. In fact, The University of California San Francisco Health reports that 40% of adults in the United States experience vertigo at least once. Women are at a greater risk than men for these balance-related injuries.

A Russian study published in the National Library of Medicine also explored the connection between vertigo and high blood pressure. It reported that 78% of study participants received a diagnosis of a hypertensive crisis but had elevated blood pressure due to underlying causes. About 20% of these patients experienced symptoms of vertigo (seemingly unrelated to hypertension).

The following conditions and injuries may also impact a person’s balance:

  • Meniere’s disease
  • Stroke
  • Traumatic brain injury
  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Migraine
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • Labyrinthitis

These conditions and injuries impact either the inner ear or the brain. They also directly affect how you perceive balance, posture, and spatial orientation.

What Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy Involves

It’s wise to seek medical treatment if you are experiencing frequent dizzy spells or have endured a traumatic brain injury. It’s possible that you could have an underlying condition affecting your inner ear, so a physical therapist will need to evaluate your balance while an audiologist tests your vestibular system. Following a diagnosis of any of the conditions mentioned above, you might consider balance therapy to regain control over your vestibular system.

What exactly can you expect by starting this therapy program? Below are some key aspects of this treatment for vestibular injuries.

Canalith Repositioning

Patients with benign paroxysmal positional vertigo can relieve symptoms with a non-invasive maneuver called canalith repositioning. The physical therapist will prompt you to hold your head in four different positions for about 30 seconds. The goal is to shift the tiny canalith particles back into a more normal position (away from your ear canal).

A Mayo Clinic survey showed that 80% of patients reported notable relief from their vertigo symptoms after one or two such treatments. However, canalith repositioning isn’t a permanent solution.

Balance Retraining

A major part of balance therapy will be learning how to withstand dizziness by training your body to remain steady when a dizzy spell happens. Healthcare professionals incorporate this into each therapy session with a variety of exercises meant to improve balance. 

For example, experts may conduct a series of head movements to trigger dizzy spells, teaching you techniques to counter them. You’ll then need to practice these movements on your own to improve your vestibular system’s processes.

Other balance exercises involve movements when sitting, lying down, standing, and walking. Being able to feel balanced In all of these positions is extremely helpful in overcoming the challenges of your vestibular injury or condition.

Eye Movements

Of course, the body doesn’t have to be moving for you to feel off balance. Gaze stabilization is a vital part of vestibular rehabilitation therapy. It helps you center yourself on a certain object.

For example, your therapist may have you look at a target object while moving your head slightly. This exercise improves concentration so that you can better withstand any dizzy spells. 

Strengthening Your Body

Balance therapy also aims to strengthen your body’s balance and spatial orientation via exercises that you do on your own twice a day for several weeks.

Keep in mind that many of these exercises can induce dizziness, but the more you strengthen your balance, the less severe the onset of symptoms will be. You should soon notice you have more control over them.

Risks and Benefits of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Risks and Benefits of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy

Balance therapy has plenty of advantages for those who experience vertigo or underlying conditions that impair their balance. You could live a healthier life as these therapy programs reduce dizziness symptoms and improve your overall stability. Working with an expert on your vestibular rehabilitation also reduces the risk of falling and injuring yourself.

The primary risk of vestibular therapy is that many of the movements cause dizziness or nausea. However, usually, this subsides as you learn to control your balance. It’s possible that the dizziness won’t completely go away with vestibular therapy, but therapy gives you an improved outlook and some tools to counter the issues that arise.

Get Help From a Top Neurologist in NYC | Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C.

Why let dizzy spells keep you from leading a normal life? Explore balance therapy to control these abnormal sensations in your vestibular system and reestablish your spatial orientation. 

Contact Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. at (347) 602-9530. Our doctors accept most insurance plans, including workers’ compensation, no-fault, and PIP (personal injury protection). Same-day appointments may be available.

How do neurologists treat nerve pain and related conditions? Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. can provide you with more information and preferred treatment plans.

Frequently Asked Questions About Balance Therapy

Here are the most common questions the clinic receives about balance issues:

What Is the Best Treatment for Balance Problems?

The best treatment for balance problems is often vestibular rehabilitation therapy. It treats balance issues alongside medications and lifestyle changes. 

How Long Does It Take To Improve Balance?

In most cases, it can take up to 12 weeks of consistent balance therapy sessions to improve your balance.

Does Walking Improve Balance?

Yes, walking and other physical activity can improve balance, especially in conjunction with an experienced neurologist. Neurodiagnostics Medical P.C. can tell you more.

About The Author

Picture of Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D.

Ashwin Malhotra, M.D. is a highly respected neurologist based in New York City. With over 20 years of experience in the field of neurology, he has earned a reputation as a leading expert in the diagnosis and treatment of neurological disorders and traumatic brain injuries. In addition to his clinical work, Dr. Malhotra is also a dedicated educator and researcher. He has published numerous articles in peer-reviewed medical journals and has presented his research at national and international conferences.