Vestibular Conditions can present in many ways such as dizziness, vertigo, migraines, headaches, nausea, visual disturbances and loss of balance.
Vestibular Therapy in Kansas City
The brain, the inner ear, and the eyes all work together to help your body know where it is in space. When one of these systems are disturbed, it can cause one, or all, of the aforementioned symptoms. There are a variety of ways to test the vestibular system and by targeting the root of the problem you can utilize exercises, medications prescribed by your doctor, and/or lifestyle changes that will help decrease these symptoms.
What It Treats
Vestibular therapy can help with a variety of vestibular dysfunctions, including but not limited to:
- Meniere’s Disease
- Unilateral hypofunction
- Bilateral hypofunction
- Acoustic Neuroma
- Motion sensitivity
- Balance deficits
- Cervicogenic dizziness
- Mal de debarquement syndrome
- Migraine associated vertigo
The vestibular system is your key to balance, which goes way beyond the ability to stand on one foot. Everything that you do, from walking and running to simply standing, requires balance. A well-functioning vestibular system allows you to see properly, remain oriented, fix your posture to adjust to certain movement patterns, and more. This is all based on a delicate chain of communication between the inner ear, eyes, joints and muscles, and the brain. When your balance is off, you could experience negative side effects that can impact your daily life.
Functionality of balance starts with the inner ear. While the inner ear does help with hearing, it also houses the vestibular system. The vestibular system tells the brain the position of the head to maintain equilibrium and control movements. Specifically, the message goes to the cerebellum in the brain—the body’s movement and balance control center.
Because the vestibular system works with the visual system, it helps to maintain clear vision while you’re moving, switching positions, or even turning your head quickly. That is why vestibular therapy is so important when that balance system becomes off. When the system can’t function properly, you can’t move properly. When you can’t move properly, you could pick up movement patterns that aren’t good for your joints and muscles, which can make you more susceptible to injuries.
While damage to the vestibular system can occur at any age, it is typically more common as you age. Dysfunctions may come from medications, injury, poor circulation to the ear, conditions in the brain, infections, and more. After an in-depth evaluation, our team of certified vestibular therapists will create a customized treatment plan to help a wide range of vestibular dysfunctions.
How Vestibular Therapy Works
A certified vestibular therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation and examination to determine the root of the symptoms and different treatment options available for the findings. Some of these Vestibular Therapy exercises include rehabilitation of the reflexes associated with the vestibular system, balance, reaction timing, and lifestyle modifications, if needed.
Team collaboration is important with vestibular therapy and if it deems necessary, you may need a consultation with an audiologist, neurologist, ENT, and/or neuro-optometrist.
Vestibular therapy is an effective treatment to minimize symptoms that come from vestibular dysfunctions and aims to reduce dizziness, vertigo, visual disturbance, and improper balance. Through a combination of exercises and soft tissue techniques, we dedicate each session to enhancing a patient’s quality of life.
Vestibular therapy is not a new practice and actually dates back to the 1940s with research from Cawthorne and Cookseys. As the decades have progressed, we have been able to implement modern day techniques to further improve patient outcomes. However, therapy does not regenerate or repair vestibular damage; rather, it focuses on changing the central nervous system’s perception of stimulation and messages between the vestibular and visual systems.
The first thing we want to do is find and analyze the problem. We use clinical assessments to understand the whole picture. This includes your medical history, injuries, medications, daily activities, and other factors that help us determine the next path. We may also include screenings to evaluate your vision and musculoskeletal health.
Since vestibular issues can come from many different factors, we want to be specific with the root of your problem. This allows us to better understand which treatment options would work best for your needs.
How F.I.T. Uses Vestibular Therapy
F.I.T. Muscle & Joint Clinic aims to not only get you out of discomfort, but return you to activities that have been limited because of your vestibular symptoms. We utilize soft tissue techniques such as A.R.T., Graston, and dry needling to improve muscle length and decrease tension in muscles that have become irritated due to compensation from the vestibular dysfunction.
Our vestibular therapists emphasize re-educating the vestibular system through habituation, adaptation and substitution techniques. The key to re-training the vestibular system is integrating the brain, the inner ear, and the visual system into the exercises. Our goal is to make a lasting change, so we place a high priority on this key element of your comprehensive treatment plan.
One important factor we implement in our vestibular rehabilitation therapy program is habituation. Habituation can help treat dizziness that may come from sudden movements such as snapping your head around. With appropriate exercises, we promote the exposure of those movements to help the body adapt and adjust over time. Therefore, we must understand which stimuli and movements trigger your dizziness in order to replicate them during therapy.
Our main goal is to allow your vestibular system to become used to those triggers to reduce dizziness, imbalance, and disorientation. Keep in mind that results do not come overnight, so it’s important to be patient with yourself and trust the process. At F.I.T., we believe that quality outweighs speed. The last thing we want to do is rush the process and find that your symptoms didn’t get any better, or potentially, got worse.
While exercises and therapy aren’t necessarily hard, they do require dedication to continue advancing. That means you may have exercises to continue at home in between vestibular therapy sessions. As with any kind of therapy, consistency is key. That is why we will guide you through the entire process to ensure that you get the best results possible. Depending on your underlying condition, you may also require medical care from a physician to coincide with your vestibular therapy. In doing so, you c
How do I know if vestibular therapy is right for me?
The best way to understand if you need vestibular therapy is by visiting a medical professional. In some cases, symptoms can come on suddenly, while other times there may be more of a gradual onset. For example, vestibular dysfunction symptoms can arise at once after a trauma like a car accident. In this case, you may notice lingering dizziness due to a damaged balance system. Other times, the symptoms come from different pathologies your doctor may have already diagnosed. Regardless of the cause, you may notice blurred vision, nausea or vomiting, unsteadiness, and vertigo. If those symptoms don’t go away on their own, it is probably best to seek out treatment.
At. F.I.T., we will sit down with you to determine whether or not you are a candidate for vestibular therapy. If you have already spoken with a physician, we can also work directly with him or her to better streamline your medical care. We want to take time with you to understand your concerns, unique symptoms, the severity, and how the issue has impacted your daily life. In the end, our goal is to help your body adjust so that you can return to life as normal.
If you are experiencing symptoms, it is always best to get help, even if you don’t believe it is a big deal. Without proper treatment, your symptoms could worsen, which can in turn affect the rest of your body. In addition, poor balance and communication between your vestibular system, visual system, and brain can lead to psychological strain. When you can’t get through simple tasks on your own without facing issues, it may lead to poor concentration, anxiety, and depression. Therefore, therapy isn’t simply designed to help your body, it is also there to improve your outlook on life.
Is Vestibular Therapy right for you?
Take a couple of minutes to tell us about your symptoms and pain areas. Prefer to chat over the phone? Call us for a free phone consultation.
Visit your local F.I.T.
Meet the team at any of our 10 locations: Lee’s Summit, Leawood, Paola, Crossroads, Liberty. Blue Valley, Olathe, Kansas City, Overland Park & Shawnee.