Vestibular Rehabilitation

What is Vestibular Dysfunction?

The Vestibular system of the inner ear is the remarkably sensitive system that provides input to the brain indicating head and body movement and spatial orientation. This system includes semi-circular canals and the Otoliths (Crystals). The semi-circular canal is responsible to assess the rotational movements whereas the Otoliths sense the linear movements. Vestibular Dysfunction is the abnormalities or disturbance to its normal function, leading to balance disturbances and vertigo, including a false sense of spinning. Nausea and vomiting typically accompany episodes of vertigo.


Dizziness, vertigo, confusion, unsteadiness, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, blurred vision, anxiety or changes in blood pressure or heart rate can all be symptoms.


The most common cause of vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV).

BPPV is due to calcium debris in the inner ear, which can be treated with the Canalith-repositioning maneuver, which takes just a few minutes to perform. This abnormality can be treated by a physical therapist using a single particle repositioning maneuver.

How can physical therapy help solve this problem? Following assessment, the therapist will attempt to re-locate these “loose bodies,” to their correct (or more correct), positions within the semi-circular canals.

How can Otolithic (Crystals) fragments be repositioned? The utilization of postural exercises will help to relocate the offending fragments; one very effective technique is termed the Epley Maneuver. This is principally performed manually by the therapist.

Other treatments
  • Vestibular adaptation exercise to improve vision with head movement
  • Postural stabilization exercises to improve balance strategies
The frequency and the treatment goal will be determined by the physical therapist on the day of initial evaluation. The therapist provides one-on-one hands on treatment and develops vestibular compensatory strategies through a customized home exercise program. Upon consistently following the treatment plan, the patient can achieve an improved level of function to return to prior life style. The most important goal of vestibular therapy is to improve a person’s safety, balance and ability to focus with head movements.

How do I schedule an appointment?

A referral from your specialist or primary physician is necessary to schedule an appointment with our rehab staff. The prescription may be faxed directly to our clinic from your doctor’s office. Check your insurance plan to see if you need authorization for rehabilitation at Oakwood Healthcare system. Contact one of our clinics to schedule an appointment.

The Vestibular Therapy service is available at the following Oakwood locations