Dizzy. Disoriented. Lightheaded. If these describe you right now, you’re not alone. An estimated 69 million Americans have suffered from vestibular dysfunction. That is, inner ear problems that leave you feeling dizzy or imbalanced due to a disruption in the connection between the inner ear and the brain.
For some it is a simple case of BPPV (or Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo), for others it is Mal de Debarquement (“disembarkment syndrome”), and for others still it is longer lasting and more complex. Whatever your diagnosis, when you are having difficulty with dizziness, imbalance, or you feel unsteady on your feet, you need to consider vestibular rehabilitation.
FYZICAL Oklahoma City, and our physical therapists, are on a mission to Fight the Falls. Any time you are suffering from the dizziness, imbalance, or unsteadiness of vestibular dysfunction, you are at risk of sustaining a serious injury from a fall. FYZICAL specializes in vestibular rehabilitation, it is what our therapists treat every day, so when you are looking for a vestibular physical therapist in Oklahoma City, end your search with FYZICAL.
What is the Vestibular System?
Your vestibular system is one of the three main sensory contributors to balance (the other two are your vision and somatosensory systems). It is your internal reference telling the brain how your head and body are orientated - up, down, tilted, etc. The primary role of your vestibular system is to help your brain identify where you are in space.
Your visual and somatosensory (touch, pressure, pain) systems, provide external references of your balance. While your eyes see you going down, and your foot felt your slip, your vestibular system knows that your orientation in space is changing. You’re not standing any more, you’re about to be on the ground.
When your sensory systems are working together and they agree, it is the integration of these sensory systems that provides us with normal equilibrium. And they may help us to compensate before it’s too late. They keep us upright.
Want to feel like an astronaut?
When you see your Oklahoma City physical therapist at FYZICAL, have us assess your vestibular dysfunction, we use NASA developed Virtual Reality technology to better understand the scope of your challenges. (LEARN MORE about our NASA Developed CDP)
How Does the Vestibular System Work?
Located in your inner ear, your vestibular system senses motion when small hairs (called cilia) are moved by fluid (called endolymph) inside of three tubes (called the semicircular canals). When we sit, stand, move, or experience motions (such as in a car) the fluid sloshes around. The smoother the movements, the smoother the fluid moves. If you think about a bottle of water, when you tilt side-to-side it moves smoothly side-to-side, but shake it enough and you may even get bubbles or foam on top.
The moving endolymph causes the cilia to move, which cause signals to fire in your brain. Your brain receives these signals from the hairs, along with information from your eyes and your sense of touch to interpret motion, equilibrium, and orientation in space.
But when your vestibular system isn’t firing properly, it can cause you to feel like you’re moving even when you are standing still. You need to see a physical therapist who specializes in vestibular rehabilitation.
How Does Vestibular Rehabilitation Help You?
Not all physical therapists have specialty training in vestibular rehabilitation. But the physical therapists at FYZICAL in Oklahoma City have specialized vestibular rehabilitation training focused on reducing your dizziness and retraining your balance.
Vestibular Rehabilitation is a treatment for patients with chronic non-resolved motion intolerance, visual sensitivity, and imbalance problems. Unlike medication, vestibular rehabilitation focuses on improving your sensory systems for balance rather than quieting them.
Our Oklahoma City physical therapists use a comprehensive balance program that includes assessment and evaluation programs, balance retraining, and vestibular rehabilitation. With balance retraining and vestibular rehabilitation, our goal is to improve balance function and visual motor control, increase general activity levels, and help your body compensate for inner ear disorders. We utilize a state-of-the-art balance machine and our balance therapy programs have a 99% balance improvement success rate.
Who Benefits from Vestibular Rehabilitation?
- BPPV (Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
- Vestibular Hypofunction: Labyrinthitis, vestibular neuritis
- Migraine Associated Dizziness
- Post-Concussions and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI)
- Neck Related Dizziness & Vertigo
- Fall Risk Seniors
- Musculoskeletal Balance Disorders
- Parkinson's Disease (PD)
- Mal de Debarquement ("Disembarkment Syndrome")
*When calling for Vertigo evaluation, we will provide flexible scheduling that allows us to get most patients evaluated within one business day.