Frequently Asked Questions about Vestibular Rehabilitation

You’ve got questions about vestibular rehabilitation, dizziness and imbalance. We’ve got answers.

What is vestibular rehabilitation?

Vestibular rehabilitation and balance retraining are exercises and movements that decrease dizziness, vertigo and imbalance caused by inner ear or central balance pathway disorders.

Treatment can be provided for common peripheral disorders such as vestibular neuritis, labyrinthitis and benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), as well as central disorders such as head trauma, concussion and multiple sclerosis. Physical therapy treatment varies from person to person based on symptoms and examination findings. 

Why should I see a vestibular/physical therapist for dizziness?

If specific activities or chores around the house cause dizziness, learning to perform them differently may help. Vestibular/physical therapists provide essential coping strategies that make recovery more tolerable. Symptom-specific exercises help you work through some of these issues right away, getting you moving and back to a productive life more quickly.

See bios for our vestibular experts: Martina Tracy, PT and Jennifer Lech, PT, MPT.

How does a concussion or trauma cause dizziness and/or imbalance?

The delicate inner ear balance sensors and their connections to and from the brain (the vestibular system), as well as information from our eyes and joints, is compared and managed by the brain to maintain balance and keep vision stable during head motion. Break down in this information due to a malfunction of any part of the vestibular system   may lead to dizziness, vertigo and/or imbalance. Due to concussion the brain may also develop maladaptive responses to the conflicting information, which can delay recovery.

What can vestibular/physical therapy do for post-concussion or trauma-related dizziness?

Skilled vestibular/physical therapists provide therapeutic guidance to allow the brain to see the error signals and habituate the responses or adapt. We utilize symptom-specific exercises to decrease dizziness, improve balance and stabilize gaze. Exercises may initially increase symptoms as the abnormal responses are seen and adapted to by the brain.

Who can benefit from vestibular therapy?

Vestibular rehabilitation has been proven as an effective approach for people whose dizziness, vertigo or imbalance from a vestibular disorder has not resolved in 2-3 weeks. Patients may be seen sooner depending on their diagnosis, symptoms and tolerance.

What are symptoms indicating that a concussion or trauma has occurred?

Symptoms of a concussion or head trauma can be cognitive, physical or emotional.

Cognitive:

  • Trouble concentrating
  • Trouble remembering
  • Confusion

Physical:

  • Nausea
  • Dizziness or balance problems
  • Sensitivity to light or noise
  • Headache
  • Feeling tired or like you’re moving too slowly
  • Sleeping too much or too little

Emotional:

  • Feeling more grouchy than usual
  • Feeling sad
  • Feeling nervous
  • More emotional than usual

...Or you just don’t feel right

What are the goals of the Vestibular Rehabilitation Program at GMC-Duluth?

Our goal is to get you back to your everyday life. We do this by:

  • Decreasing or eliminating dizziness/vertigo
  • Improving visual motor control, gaze stability and motion tolerance
  • Improving balance, function and safety
  • Increasing activity level
  • Reducing risk of fall

Find a Specialist?

Still have questions? To talk to one of Atlanta’s leading vestibular rehabilitation experts, or to set up an appointment, call 678-312-7880.

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