Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy at Physio Logic is led by Physical Therapist and Vestibular Rehabilitation Specialist, Dr. Sarah Rodriguez, PT, DPT. Dr. Rodriguez received her vestibular rehabilitation certification from the American Institute of Balance.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is a specialized form of physical therapy uniquely designed to alleviate both the primary and secondary problems caused by vestibular disorders. These problems may include decreased balance or a sense of instability, frequent falls, vertigo, dizziness, headaches, “brain fog” or difficulty concentrating, blurry or double vision (especially with head movement), and neck pain and stiffness. VRT also helps to address post-concussion symptoms after head trauma. Using a combination of balance training, coordination of head and eye movements, repetition of the specific activities or movements that provoke symptoms, and manual therapy when indicated, VRT is intended to re-train the vestibular system and restore a patient’s sense of equilibrium.
The vestibular system is a component of our inner ear that gives us our sense of balance and its disruption contributes to the opposite: imbalance and incoordination.
As people age, the vestibular system becomes compromised, just as every other system in the body. The impairment in balance has significant secondary consequences. Because the sensation of movement becomes increasingly unpleasant, there becomes less incentive to be active, which results in those suffering from vestibular disorders becoming sedentary.
For older individuals, being active is essential in maintaining function. When the muscles of the heart are not challenged with cardio, the heart becomes weak and the body becomes deconditioned. When the muscles of the body are not challenged, even for the sake of basic daily function, they become weaker as they atrophy due to disuse. That individual, once only limited by their inner ear, is more limited by cardiovascular and musculoskeletal weakness.
For patients suffering from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), this condition can usually be treated in just one to two visits and can quickly alleviate debilitating sensations of vertigo, nausea, and unsteadiness.
For other vestibular disorders, sessions are typically held 1-2 times per week for several weeks or months, depending on the severity, complexity, and chronicity of the symptoms. By utilizing and progressing the repetition of provoking activities in order to extinguish symptoms, it is important to note that exercises will usually increase symptoms while they are being performed in VRT. As patients progress, however, the symptoms eventually subside. Sessions are spent focusing on balance training, vision exercises to improve oculomotor function and gaze stability, and individualized vestibular exercises. These specifically tailored programs are meant to re-train the vestibular system and improve the patient’s sense of where they are in space so that they can properly navigate their way through New York City with a strong sense of equilibrium.
“Treatment always feels right here. I’m always raving about Physio Logic to my friends and family. I pay out of pocket with the knowledge that I could probably go somewhere else cheaper, but I know it’s well worth it. Everyone here is friendly, helpful, and so knowledgeable.”
“[The physical therapists] were able to explain each step of my care in a way that I could understand. They were very good at answering any questions I had.”