Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is an exercise-based program for reducing the symptoms of disequilibrium and dizziness associated with vestibular pathology (disease or disorder). A common neuro-otological approach for managing such symptoms is to prescribe medication that suppresses vestibular function. However, in the long term, such suppressants can interfere with a person’s ability to make necessary adaptations. In addition, many of these medications cause drowsiness that may limit a person’s ability to be active.
VRT is an alternative treatment involving specific exercises that can eliminate or significantly reduce symptoms by promoting central nervous system compensation for inner-ear deficits. The program is designed to achieve these goals:
1. Decrease dizziness and visual symptoms.
2. Increase balance and walking functions.
3. Increase general activity levels.
The program may include exercises for:
- Coordinating eye and head movements
- Stimulating the symptoms of dizziness
in order to desensitize the vestibular system
- Improving balance and walking ability
- Improving fitness and endurance
Exercises vary depending on the type of inner-ear disorder and the associated symptoms. (Vestibular.org, 2016)