Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a type of physical therapy that helps treat dizziness, vertigo, and balance problems. VRT involves specific exercises that stimulate your vestibular system and train your brain to adapt to changes in your inner ear and visual fields to reduce your risk of falling and improve your quality of life.

The physical therapists at FYZICAL Bellingham will perform a thorough assessment of your condition to develop an individualized treatment plan that may include VRT to manage your symptoms.

The Basics of the Vestibular System

The vestibular system is part of your nervous system and helps to maintain your balance and orientation in space. Your vestibular system is essential for performing many tasks, such as standing, walking, and running.

The vestibular system consists of two main components: the central vestibular system and the peripheral vestibular system.
  • Central vestibular system — located in the brainstem and cerebellum, this system receives signals from the peripheral vestibular system and other sensory systems, including proprioception and vision. The central vestibular system processes these signals and sends commands to your eyes and muscles to adjust your eye movements and posture.
  • Peripheral nervous system — located in your inner ear and includes the semicircular canal, the utricle, and the saccule. These structures contain sensory cells, called cilia, that detect movement and the position of your head.
Injuries, infections, tumors, or aging can interfere with the normal functioning of your vestibular system, leading to symptoms such as dizziness, hearing loss, tinnitus, and nausea. These symptoms can lead to an increased risk of falling.


Benign Positional Proximal Vertigo (BPPV) is a specific type of vestibular disorder for which physical therapy is very effective in its treatment. In BPPV, people describe a feeling of spinning or an illusion of movement with head and positional changes. 

BPPV is...
Most common cause of vertigo in adults.
Cause of 50% of all dizziness in adults over 65 years old. 
Age of inset commonly between 50 and 70 years old.
Can be associated with head trauma/concussion. 

Our physical therapist will perform an assessment including a detailed history of your symptoms and their pattern, medication use, what prior treatment you have, and relevant past medical history. Once we understand you and your symptoms we will then select the appropriate tests to help us determine the cause of your symptoms and then provide an individualized treatment and home exercise program to meet your goals. 

Conditions Treated With Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation can be beneficial for numerous conditions, including benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), multiple sclerosis (MS), Parkinson’s Disease, inner ear issues such as labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, dizziness associated with migraine, post-concussion, traumatic brain injury (TBI), musculoskeletal balance disorders, and neck-related dizziness and vertigo. Vestibular rehabilitation can also be beneficial for seniors who are at risk of falling.