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Vestibular Disorders

Call (443) 481-1140

We treat all types of disorders of the vestibular (balance) system. We can help improve symptoms like dizziness and vertigo with vestibular rehabilitation.

What You Should Know About Vestibular Disorders

Tiny structures in your inner ear that detect head position and movement make up your vestibular system. It also includes the nerve connecting your inner ear to the brain, and part of the brain itself.

This network helps keep you upright and enables you to sense where you are in space and see clearly when you're moving.

Some diseases and injuries can throw a wrench into your vestibular system. And the underlying problem often can't be fixed with medication or surgery.

We have physical therapists who are specially trained to help tame the debilitating effects of vestibular disorders. This means you can go back to dancing, playing tennis, attending classes or whatever else nurtures your body and soul.


Symptoms of vestibular disorders

People with vestibular disorders can experience:

  • Dizziness.

  • Difficulty walking.

  • Sensitivity to motion.

  • Trouble balancing.

  • Vertigo.

Bouts of any of these symptoms can seriously disrupt your life. Activities from driving to simply standing in place can become much more difficult — even dangerous.

Staying upright may require so much physical and mental energy that you're exhausted after doing even the simplest tasks. You might also stop doing most physical activities for fear of triggering or exacerbating symptoms.

All these things can lead to loss of muscle strength and fitness as well as emotional distress.

Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialized form of physical therapy that can minimize these issues. It includes individualized techniques that train the brain to use other senses to take over for your impaired vestibular system.

Why Rely on Us to Treat Your Vestibular Disorder?

When a vestibular disorder throws your life off balance, we're committed to getting you back on an even keel. Additional reasons why you should trust us for your care include:

  • We have experienced, certified therapists. The physical therapists in our vestibular disorders program don't just concentrate on treating these conditions — they've taken advanced training to become certified vestibular therapists. And we work hard to keep up with the latest research in the field.

  • We partner with other health professionals. Our specialized physical therapists often work with speech language pathologists to treat related issues. For example, say you started experiencing dizziness and thinking problems due to a concussion. We have speech therapists who are specially trained to teach you techniques for coping with thinking and memory issues.

  • We'll personalize your treatment plan. No two people with vestibular disorders are exactly alike, even if they have an identical diagnosis. Our vestibular therapists carry out specific assessments that pinpoint areas of impairment. With this information, we can tailor a treatment plan to meet your individual needs.

  • We make it convenient to come see us. We have satellite clinics, so you can choose the location closest to your home or workplace.

Diagnosis & Treatments

Vestibular conditions we treat

Luminis Health Physical Therapy treats vestibular conditions, including:

Inside your inner ear, you have tiny crystals that sit embedded inside two small gel-filled sacs. These stones sense gravity and movement. Sometimes they can get dislodged and float away from their normal position. When this happens, certain changes in position can trigger sudden, intense episodes of vertigo.

A concussion is a type of brain injury that happens during a bump, fall or blow to the body. The brain "sloshes" back and forth inside the skull, which can cause chemical changes and stretch or harm brain cells. Symptoms of concussion include balance problems and dizziness, sensitivity to light and noise, and difficulty concentrating.

Sudden trauma, stroke and multiple sclerosis can damage parts of the brain involved in balance, which, in turn, can cause dizziness.

This condition typically comes on after an event that caused a sudden, abrupt bout of vertigo. For instance, if you've had BPPV, you may go on to develop PPPD. Symptoms of PPPD include persistent feelings of rocking, swaying, unsteadiness or dizziness. These often worsen when you stand, move, or look at moving objects or complex patterns.

This is a false sense of movement. Often it feels like the room is spinning around you. Sometimes, you may have other symptoms, such as feeling sick to your stomach or hearing ringing in your ears.

This term describes reduced function in the balance system in your inner ear. It can happen in one or both ears. If it's in both ears, you may lose your ability to see clearly when your head is moving. You'll also find it hard to keep your balance, especially when walking in the dark or on an uneven surface.

Treatments we offer

Your treatment for a vestibular disorder may include:

  • Balance exercises. These exercises involve practicing holding your balance in different ways and increasing the level of difficulty. Examples include walking with your eyes closed or walking on a spongy surface.
  • Eye and head movement exercises. Gaze stabilization exercises can help improve how clearly you see when you're moving. Some exercises help reduce your reliance on your vision to keep your balance.
  • Manual therapy techniques. In some situations, your vestibular therapist may use hands-on techniques. For instance, if you have related issues like neck pain, your therapist may gently manipulate joints in your neck.
  • Monitored return to general fitness or a sport. Getting back to how fit you were before you developed a balance problem or experienced a concussion takes time. Our physical therapists can design an exercise program that prepares you for your return. We can get you ready to return to skating or to playing soccer, football or other sports. And we're trained to evaluate your progress to ensure it's safe before advancing to the next step.
  • Moves to reposition crystals in the inner ear. When you have BPPV, tiny crystals (canaliths) in your inner ear are out of place. Head movements can then make the crystals shift position and send false signals to your brain. This causes a sudden false sense of movement — for instance, as if the room is spinning around you. Patterns of specific head movements can often move the crystals into an area where they'll no longer cause symptoms.