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Vestibular dysfunction can take away independence and safety by affecting your equilibrium and sense of balance. Symptoms include exaggerated sense of motion, lack of coordinated movement, dizziness, vertigo, nausea and vomiting, difficulty with walking, motion sickness, blurred vision with head movement, an inability to visually concentrate and/or sensitivity to busy environments.
Common vestibular conditions include: Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), Meniere's, Unilateral/Bilateral vestibular weakness or Vestibulopathy, Vestibular neuritis, Labyrinthitis, and Mal de Barquement Syndrome (MdDS) (sensation of movement that lasts more
than a few days that is common after cruises and airplane travel).
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo and can be characterized by the sudden sensation that you're spinning or that your head is spinning inside. BPPV often is described as brief episodes of dizziness, ranging from mild to intense, and is often triggered by changes in the position of your head, turning over in bed, or sitting up quickly. BPPV symptoms are due to displaced crystals of calcium, called otoconia, that have collected within a part of the inner ear. Head movements cause the displaced otoconia to shift, sending false signals to the brain.
About 20% of all dizziness is due to BPPV. In older people, about 50% of the time their dizziness is due to BPPV. Treatment for BPPV can be successful within just a few visits. Specific body and head movements can be performed to move the crystals out of the canal.
Vestibular Rehabilitation (VRT) is an exercise-based group of approaches designed to decrease dizziness, improve ability to stabilize vision, and retrain aspects of postural control due to vestibular dysfunction. Our vestibular specialists are trained in a variety of
maneuvers and methods to treat vestibular dysfunction, including the Epley maneuver, Canalith repositioning, Brandt-Daroff, Semont's liberatory maneuver, and many others. Kessler Rehabilitation Center has several locations with physical therapists who have completed vestibular rehabilitation training by The American Institute of Balance (AIB).
If you'd like to learn more about balance disorders, their causes, and effective treatment strategies, the National Institutes of Health website has useful information about Balance Disorders.