Vestibular Rehabilitation: Dizziness, Vertigo, BPPV & More

Edmonton's experts in dizziness and balance disorders

Dizziness and vertigo are among the most common symptoms that send people to see their physician. Many vertigo and dizziness symptoms come from a dysfunction of the vestibular organ, which is a small but important structure in your inner ear.

See how much you know about vestibular health and take our "vertigo quiz" here to see how much you know about vertigo, and to see what can be done for you.

What causes dizziness and vertigo?

The vestibular organ is critical for balance, coordination, and movement and when it’s impaired, patients can experience spinning (vertigo), dizziness, nausea, imbalance, problems with vision, and light-headedness, anxiety, among other debilitating symptoms.

You may have a vestibular issue if you are experiencing:

  • Spinning
  • Dizziness
  • Nausea
  • Imbalance
  • Problems with vision
  • Light-headedness

These symptoms may be felt with:

  • Rolling in bed
  • Bending over
  • Looking up or down
  • Moving from sitting to laying

REP Physio will complete a comprehensive assessment and implement effective treatment strategies to help relieve these symptoms at one of our Edmonton clinics.

Is Vertigo Affecting You?

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BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is one of the most common causes of vertigo. It is the sudden and very strong feeling that you are spinning with positional changes of the head. It most often comes on with turning in bed or changing positions and usually lasts less than one minute.

BPPV occurs when the crystals in the inner ear are loose and have moved into an area they are not supposed to be in. This causes inaccurate information to be sent to the brain about where the head is in space. The result is a feeling of severe spinning and nystagmus (horizontal, vertical and/or torsion movement of the eyes). The loose or displaced crystals can be caused by a head injury or an unknown mechanism. It is most commonly seen in older individuals due to aging and can occur due to age-related degeneration of the inner ear.

If you have symptoms of vertigo, it can be very scary and debilitating. To determine if your vertigo or dizziness is due to the displacement of crystals in your inner ear, the Dix Hallpike test needs to be completed. It is important to have a health care provider with specialized training in BPPV and vertigo complete the vertigo assessment.

The Dix Hallpike test is a specific movement pattern completed to bring on vertigo and nystagmus. By assessing the direction of nystagmus, when it comes on, and how long it lasts, we are able to determine where the crystals are located. Once we know where they are, we can use specific treatment maneuvers to move the crystals back to where they are supposed to be. Although the assessment and treatment bring on vertigo, they are very effective in treating BPPV and can relieve symptoms immediately.

Vestibular Rehabilitation at REP Physio

Vestibular rehabilitation involves a subjective and physical assessment with a series of manual and functional tests to categorize the type of dizziness you’re experiencing. The therapist will observe symptoms such as irregular eye movement, issues with balance, poor visual tracking and subjective complaints of dizziness that may be linked to impaired vestibular function. Based on the results of the assessment, a treatment plan will be created.

Vestibular Rehabilitation can involve:

  • education
  • manual therapy
  • head maneuvres
  • patient-specific exercise program (habituation, adaptation, and visual exercises)
  • balance and coordination retraining

Potential results from Vestibular Rehabilitation:

  • partial or complete relief from vertigo and dizziness
  • improvement in balance and coordination
  • decrease risk of falls or clumsiness
  • decrease involuntary eye movements
  • improvement of sensory integration (vision and vestibular systems)

What can be treated by Vestibular Rehabilitation?

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
  • Unilateral Vestibular Hypofunction (Vestibular Neuritis, Labyrinthitis, Acoustic Neuroma, Vascular Compromise, Trauma)
  • Bilateral Vestibular Hypofunction (Ototoxicity, Bilateral Endolymphatic Hydrops, Age related degeneration)
  • Central Vestibular Dysfunctions
  • Post Head Trauma/ Concussion
  • Migraine Related Dizziness
  • Cervicogenic Dizziness

Do not hesitate to contact us if you have more questions about vestibular rehabilitation in Edmonton!

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Post-COVID rehab is available at REP Physio