Evidence has shown that vestibular rehabilitation can be effective in improving symptoms related to many vestibular (inner ear/balance) disorders. People with vestibular disorders often experience problems with vertigo, dizziness, visual disturbance, and/or imbalance. These are the problems that rehabilitation aims to address. Other problems can also arise that are secondary to vestibular disorders, such as nausea and/or vomiting, reduced ability to focus or concentrate, and fatigue.
Symptoms due to vestibular disorders can diminish quality of life and impact all aspects of daily living. They also contribute to emotional problems such as anxiety and depression. Additionally, one of the consequences of having a vestibular disorder is that symptoms frequently cause people to adopt a sedentary lifestyle in order to avoid bringing on, or worsening, dizziness and imbalance. As a result, decreased muscle strength and flexibility, increased joint stiffness, and reduced stamina can occur.
Balance Training exercises are used to improve steadiness so that daily activities for self-care, work, and leisure can be performed successfully. Exercises used to improve balance should be designed to address each patient’s specific underlying balance problem(s). Also, the exercises need to be moderately challenging but safe enough so patients do not fall while doing them. Features of the balance exercises that are manipulated to make them challenging, include:
- Visual and/or somatosensory cues
- Stationary positions and dynamic movements
- Coordinated movement strategies (movements from ankles, hips, or a combination of both)
- Dual tasks (performing a task while balancing)