When medical or surgical therapy has not been effective in relieving the symptoms of a balance disorder, vestibular rehabilitation may help.
Vestibular rehabilitation is a proven, exercise-based treatment designed to improve function of the three critical systems that contribute to balance well being: the inner ear, the eyes and muscles in the legs. In addition, the therapy promotes the integration of signals from each system in the brain.
Patients must be referred by a physician to participate in vestibular rehabilitation. Once referred, specially trained physical therapists create an individualized therapy program for each patient.
The process begins with an initial evaluation, which usually takes 90 minutes. During this evaluation the patient's medical history relative to his or her balance problem is reviewed, including prior hearing and balance testing. Further tests may be recommended to gather additional information.
Vestibular rehabilitation treatment sessions last 45 minutes and are integrated with a detailed home exercise program. The average duration of therapy is three to six months.