Physical therapists at NYU Langone’s Rusk Rehabilitation offer vestibular rehabilitation for people with vertigo of peripheral origin. That means it originates in the ear’s vestibular system, including the inner ear, which aids in controlling balance and spatial awareness.
A vestibular physical therapist creates a rehabilitation plan based on the results of hearing, sensory, and imaging tests. Our specialists use physical movements to enhance the body’s natural ability to respond to dizziness. Over time, you may stop feeling dizzy in response to movements that used to trigger vertigo.
Your therapist may recommend balance retraining, which is an exercise regimen that improves the coordination of muscles, joints, and vision to help you feel more steady.
He or she may also recommend gaze stabilization exercises. These exercises use specific eye movements to help eye muscles adapt to changes in the vestibular system.
NYU Langone therapists encourage you to practice these exercises at home to enhance the effectiveness of rehabilitation.
For benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, in which tiny inner ear crystals that maintain balance are displaced, our therapists offer canalith repositioning treatment.
In this technique, a therapist moves your head in a specific series of positions to dislodge the improperly placed crystals in the inner ear. These positions include lying down and turning your head to one side, then rolling onto that side and holding the position for 15 to 20 seconds.
Your therapist may also show you a similar series of head and body movements that you can perform at home. Some people find that incorporating repositioning movements into a daily routine relieves the symptoms of vertigo.
Physical therapy can help to build strength and restore range of motion in muscles weakened by disuse. For example, you may avoid a certain head movement that triggers vertigo, causing neck muscles to become weak and stiff.
Your physical therapist guides you in stretching and conditioning these muscles while also providing vestibular therapy to relieve symptoms of vertigo.