Vestibular Physiotherapy

Vestibular Physiotherapy can help you resolve dizziness and regain your stability!

Common causes of dizziness that benefit from vestibular physiotherapy treatment are:

  • BPPV (positional vertigo)
  • post-concussion syndrome
  • whiplash
  • age-related balance changes
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Vestibular neuritis
  • migraines

Vestibular Physiotherapy assessment often includes:

  • a thorough history
  • assessment of your head and eye movements
  • assessment of your gait and balance
  • specific tests to help differentiate the cause of your dizziness
  • hands-on treatment
  • individualized home exercises
  • education to help you understand your symptoms and develop the tools to manage your condition independently

The key goals of Vestibular Physiotherapy are to assess and treat the cause of your dizziness, and help you return to the activities you love with confidence!

Frequently Asked Questions:

What do you mean by the terms vertigo and dizziness?

Vertigo is characterized as the feeling of existing in a moving environment when the environment itself is stationary. Vertigo may be described as “rotational vertigo”, when you feel like the room is spinning, or it may be experienced as a “swaying” or “rocking” sensation.
Dizziness can be described as the feeling of being lightheaded or off-balanced and can be experienced differently by each person.

Can the neck and vestibular system or inner ear dysfunction cause vertigo and dizziness?

Yes! The vestibular system provides information to the brain about your body’s position in space, greatly helps with balance and your perception of movement. Deficits in the vestibular system can cause conditions like Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), where little crystals (that we all are supposed to have) shift where they do not belong; this causes the information from the vestibular system to the brain to be altered which is ultimately interpreted as faulty movement. This is one of the most common causes for brief rotational vertigo. There are other conditions like vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis where the nerve that connects the vestibular system to the brain gets inflamed or damaged (i.e. due to motor vehicle accidents, concussion, viral/bacterial infection, Meniere’s Disease)

Neck pain and stiffness and injury can also cause dizziness. This type of dizziness is called “cervicogenic dizziness.”

What are the best treatment options for dizziness and nausea?

This depends on the cause of the dizziness and nausea:

  • Exercises can often help with symptom management. Exercises may be dedicated to improve: balance, coordination, gaze stability training (allowing your eyes to help with balance), or motion sensitivity training (a form of desensitization training).
  • If your dizziness is due to neck dysfunction, there are a variety of treatment options that may include but are not limited to, dry needling, joint mobilization/manipulation, myofascial release, and exercise.
  • If the condition is due to BPPV, then there are techniques that a physiotherapist can use to safely move the loose crystals back where they belong and re-normalize the vestibular-to-brain communication pathway.

Will dizziness get better on its own?

Some conditions like labyrinthitis or neuritis can be time-base, but even in these cases, treatment can help you cope with the dizziness. BPPV may spontaneously resolve but it is better to see a vestibular therapist immediately.

How can a vestibular-trained physiotherapist help me?

Physiotherapists that have specialized training in vestibular physiotherapy are trained to appropriately screen what is causing your symptoms — i.e. neck, neurological, vestibular, other medical conditions — and direct you to the appropriate medical practitioner if the cause is out of their scope.