At Lifepath Physiotherapy, our research indicates that in Canada, over 1.5 million people suffer from some form of vertigo and dizziness. This may be due to something called Chronic Vestibular Damage.
Essentially, your inner ear senses your head position and movement. This is the pathway that sends signals to your brain letting you it know if you are in balance and in the correct orientation. So any problems in any part of this complex system can create symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, nausea, motion sensitivity, light-headedness or other balances issues.
How Can Physiotherapy Help?
Vertigo and Dizziness may not intuitively seem like issues that can be helped by Physiotherapy. However, it has been shown that certain physiotherapy exercises can help people suffering from frequent spells of vertigo or dizziness. This is known as Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Vestibular Rehabilitation is comprised of the main types of exercise therapy. This includes habituation exercise, gaze stabilization, and balance exercises.
What Are Habitation Exercises?
These are used to treat people who experience dizziness as a result of damage to their vestibular system. The dizziness can be brought on either as a result of the patient moving or by visual stimuli (e.g., watching TV or driving). The exercises aim to reduce the frequency and strength of the dizzy spells over time. This is accomplished by inducing light dizzy spells and gradually increasing the level of exposure, which enables the brain to get used to the stimulus, as well as building its tolerance for dizziness.
What is Gaze Stabilization?
Gaze Stabilization is used for patients who have difficulty controlling the movements of their eyes, particularly when they are moving their heads. This not only makes it difficult for people to see their surroundings but can lead to other issues such as headaches. Gaze stabilization exercises can help people regain more control over their eyes. One of the most common exercises for gaze stabilization is having the patient focus their eyes on a stationary object in front of them while moving their head from side to side. This helps to separate the movement of the eyes from the movement of the head. Another exercise is for the patient to keep their head still while following an object, such as a pen, from side to side with their eyes. This helps them to move their eyes without having to move their head as well.
What are Balancing Exercises?
Balancing Exercises will vary more widely on a case by case basis than habituation or gaze stabilization exercises. The exercises required will depend on the stimulus that triggers the issue. People may have difficulty balancing when walking outside, inside, on elaborately patterned floors, or around obstacles, to name a few examples. Performing tasks while standing or walking can be a major issue for people who have trouble with balance, as can activities such as moving through crowds or being surrounded by people.
Not all cases are the same, and symptoms vary from person to person. Since each case is unique, we examine each patient to determine which specific symptoms are evident, and then we work with the patient to determine the appropriate exercises to provide relief.
By combining your Vertigo and Dizziness treatment with other services at Lifepath Wellness, we can offer a one-stop trip to help treat your injuries and get you moving again!