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What is vestibular physiotherapy also known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy?

Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialised form of therapy primarily aimed at reducing symptoms of vertigo, dizziness, visual disturbance and/or imbalance. It has strong research evidence to be beneficial, safe, effective and is relatively inexpensive. 

Vestibular rehabilitation can benefit patients of any age and can be effective for long-standing symptoms, although it is advisable to start as soon as possible.  

Vestibular rehabilitation is a graded, exercise-based approach, aimed to assist with brain compensation and recovery.  This process reduces symptoms and increases a person’s independence, following conditions causing imbalance or dizziness. 

Treatment programs are individualised and will depend on the presenting symptoms, medical history, diagnostic test results and physical examination. Treatment will be goal focussed and progressive and you will be provided with exercises to complete independently on a regular basis. 


Vestibular physiotherapy exercises

The types of exercises recommended may include exercises to:

  • improve gaze stability (visual clarity as you move)

  • reduce dizziness when moving

  • improve balance and steadiness walking

  • reduce dizziness and unsteadiness when exposed to busy places or visually challenging situations, for example the supermarket, crowds,  escalators, scrolling screens

  • reduce the risk of falls

  • improve balance confidence

  • improve the ability to multi-task

Advice and education may also be provided to assist you to manage your symptoms more effectively on a daily basis.  Relaxation and mindfulness can be useful components of a treatment program, along with ensuring a good, healthy lifestyle.  Involvement of other team members, such as audiologists, hearing therapists, CBT therapists and occupational therapists may also be helpful.

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