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What is Vertigo and Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is an effective treatment approach in reducing dizziness and vertigo and associated falls and improving quality of life in persons with inner ear and balance disorders.

VRT is an exercise-based programme approach to facilitate the ability of the central nervous system to compensate for problems in the inner ear. Following thorough assessment, specialist physiotherapists develop personalised exercise-based management plans including associated home exercise programmes. Treatment goals of the exercise programs include:

A. Improvement of:

  • Functional balance
  • Posture
  • Mobility
  • General fitness and physical activity levels

B. Decrease in magnitude of patientís symptoms

What causes dizziness?

The most common form of dizziness and balance disorder is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which is a disorder of the inner ear and results in episodes of intense dizziness with specific head movements. Other causes of dizziness include side effects from medication or alcohol, neurological disorders such as stroke and multiple sclerosis, concussion/mild traumatic brain injury or cerebellar degeneration, cardiac problems and anxiety.

What will the management plan include?

I. Eye-head-postural exercises 
II. Re-training movement strategies
III. Improving orientation perception
IV. Treating musculoskeletal impairments
V. Specific techniques to reposition fragments in the inner ear which cause dizziness in BPPV.
VI. Education and advice on activities of daily living to improve confidence & function
VII. Advice on falls reduction/prevention.
VII. Strategies to improve specific types of dizziness in conditions such as Vestibular migraine (VM) and Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD).

Why is it important to receive VRT?

Having good balance is essential in performing daily activities and leading an independent lifestyle. A human healthy balance system uses information from the brain, inner ears, eyes, and joints to enable people to see clearly when moving their head.

Balance disorders and dizziness are a growing public health concern across all age groups. Prevalence increases with age and these disorders are some of the most common reasons for complains reported to GPs by older patients.

Untreated vestibular disorders have as a consequence worsening unsteadiness, loss of confidence in performing activities of daily living and anxiety, difficulty with concentration and memory, inactivity, loss of independence, an increased risk of falls and costly falls-related injuries.

Dizziness, also, if untreated, is associated with delayed return to work/sport in certain athletes.

How effective is VRT?

VRT currently is the mainstay of treatment for patients with a vestibular disorder. Approximately 50% to 80% achieve significant subjective symptom, dizziness symptom, postural, gaze and gait stability improvements. Recent evidence suggests it is beneficial for patients with other balance disorders such as older adults who experience balance disorders and/or are at risk of falling.

Also, significant improvements post VRT are achieved in:

  • 80% of patients with unilateral vestibular loss (e.g. labyrinthitis, acoustic neuroma surgery).
  • 80% of patients with BPPV after one treatment session.
  • Patients with a central cause (e.g. stroke) may show some improvement.
  • Use of VRT in concussion, migraine, and non-specific balance loss of the elderly may be helpful.

Who can provide VRT?

Physiotherapists are ideally placed to provide early screening and intervention to minimise the impact on daily life of balance and dizziness disorders. Specialist physiotherapists at Sprint Physiotherapy provide personalised VR programmes which are clinically effective reducing distressing symptoms and improving quality of life.

Which vestibular disorders are managed at Sprint?

Peripheral disorders:

  • BPPV,
  • bilateral vestibulopathy,
  • Meniere’s disease,
  • unilateral vestibulopathy (e.g. labyrinthitis ot neuritis),
  • vestibular schwannoma (e.g. acoustic schwannoma).

Central disorders:

  • Cerebellar disorders,
  • Head trauma (e.g. mild traumatic brain injury/concussion),
  • Vestibular disorder with associated Multiple Sclrerosis,
  • Vestibular disorder with associated Stroke,
  • Vestibular migraine.

Other conditions:

  • Mal de Debarquement,
  • Older adults at risk of falls or with balance impairments,
  • Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD),
  • Visual induced dizziness,
  • Children with vestibular disorders.

To find out more, book an appointment with one of our vestibular specialist physiotherapists at Sprint Physiotherapy.

Please contact us to book an appointment or for more information on any of the services available at our clinic in Paddington, Hammersmith or Kensington.

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Areas covered

Our services cover the following locations (if your location is not listed please don't hesistate to get in touch and ask us if we can help you):

Kensington - W8 - W14 - SW7 - Notting Hill - W11 - W2 - W10 - Chelsea - SW10 - Knightsbridge SW1 - SW3 - Fulham - W6 - Hammersmith - W6 - W12 - Hyde Park and Holland Park, Paddington, Bayswater, Marylebone W1, W2

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Kensington Clinic
Sprint Physiotherapy
2 Drayson Mews
W8 4LY
Paddington Clinic
Sprint Physiotherapy
Winston Churchill Wing
St Mary's Hospital
Winsland Mews
W2 1NY
Hammersmith Clinic
Hydrotherapy Department
Ground Floor, South Wing
Charing Cross Hospital
Fulham Palace Road
W6 8RF
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