The Vestibular - Concussion Connection
Vestibular Therapy is specialized physical therapy directed at the vestibular component of the nervous system. The vestibular system uses information from the eyes, inner ears, and extremities to help keep your body balanced. Sometimes this information is incomplete or distorted, causing dizziness and vertigo, difficulty balancing and walking that can lead to falls, challenges with postural control and flexibility and strength deficits in your muscles and joints.
The purpose of vestibular therapy is to restore good communication between these sources of information and the brain in order to allow better balance or eliminate dizziness. Successful treatment can take as few as 1-2 sessions and is dependent on the causes. Following a detailed evaluation, your physical therapist will work with you to create an individualized treatment plan to address your specific situation.
The vestibular system, which essentially helps your brain determine your position in space, is one of several systems in your body that can become dysfunctional after a head injury or concussion. A concussion is an injury to the brain that can happen as a result of any blow or jolt to the head or whiplash. Vestibular and concussion rehabilitation is just one part of a comprehensive treatment program for people suffering from lingering symptoms after a concussion or other head injury.
The best treatment for symptoms of concussion includes an assessment of vestibular function by a physical therapist. Based on examination findings, your physical therapist will create a plan of care including customized exercises and recommendations for participating in or modifying school, work and home activities to help expedite your recovery. If you think a concussion may have happened, it is better to be cautious and always be evaluated by a medical professional.
Balance and Dizziness
Falls related to dizziness or balance deficits are a leading cause of injury requiring hospitalization. Physical therapy is a common treatment for many vestibular conditions that trains patients to “treat themselves” with exercises they can do at home to prevent future problems. Additionally, treatment may include:
Concussion injury does not appear on any routine brain scan such as CT or MRI, and there is no diagnostic test for concussions. A diagnosis of concussion is made based on a group of symptoms that can become immediately present or may arise over weeks to months after injury. Symptoms of a concussion may include
Treatment of concussions are a collaborative effort between primary care physicians, neuropsychologists, physical therapists, and other health professionals all committed to helping decrease symptoms and get you back to life and all the things you love.