Vestibular Rehab


By Stacey Van Schyndel PT, M.Sc.P.T.,B.Kin.,MCPA

Vestibular Rehab is the assessment and treatment of vertigo and other inner ear troubles. Clients often attend a physiotherapy assessment with reports of dizziness which is a broad term used to describe an assortment of sensations and can include vertigo. An initial assessment is required to determine the origin of your symptoms as they can arise for a variety of reasons. Vertigo (room spinning dizziness) that is short lasting and triggered by position changes is most commonly from Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV. This condition can start for no apparant reason or can be secondary to head trauma (concussions, slips and falls, motor vehicle accidents). It tends to be more common as you age - studies show that it can be up to seven times more common in those over 60 than those 18-39. BPPV arises when small rock like crystals in your inner ear become dislodged and end up in your semicircular canals (a part of the ear where they do not belong) giving your brain false information when you move your head. This results in sensations of you spinning in the room or the room spinning around you.

During your assessment, the physiotherapist will use maneuvers like the Dix Hallpike and Roll tests, among others, to help determine where in the inner ear the crystals are located.This is essential as the location of the crystals guides the treatment. If the diagnosis of BPPV is made, the treatment if fairly straight forward. A crystal repositioning technique is preformed to help relocate the crystals back to there original home where they will no longer be problematic.Treatment can be up to 80% successful in one session, although occasionally  a second session is needed.

BPPV is a common yet easily treatable condition that oftentimes patients will suffer with for years before they seek treatment. In as little as 10 minutes, vertigo that has been present for days to years can be completely cured. The risk of recurrence, can frequently be high but once the repositioning technique is identified it can often be taught as self-treatment to be done at home when needed.

For more information on Vestibular Rehab, or if you think you have BPPV or another vestibular system disorder and would like an assessment, please contact us at 705-788-1480

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