At some point in our lives, many of us will suffer from dizziness or a sensation of vertigo. If symptoms include feeling unsteady, a spinning or sensation of moving when you are standing still or a feeling of being pulled in one direction, you may have a balance or vestibular problem, a disorder that can be treated with vestibular rehabilitation. Brett Amo, MPT for RiverLedge Therapy offers an advanced specialty in the treatment of balance and vestibular disorders.
Balance is the result of several body systems working together: the visual system (eyes), vestibular system (ears) and proprioception (the body's sense of where it is in space). Loss of function in any of these systems can lead to balance issues.
“Diagnosis and treatment of balance and vestibular disorders can mean a world of difference to someone suffering with symptoms,” Brett explained. “When people develop symptoms of dizziness or balance difficulty, the natural tendency is to avoid the positions or activities that bring on or intensify symptoms. This leads to a decreased quality of life. Avoiding positions or activities that result in dizziness or uncomfortable side effects will never allow normal adaptation processes to occur. The central nervous system and inner ear have built-in mechanisms to compensate for damage to either structure that may result in symptoms of dizziness or balance difficulty.”
Treatment for balance and vestibular disorders begins with a thorough evaluation provided by a physical therapist that includes a medical history and includes observing and measuring posture, balance and gait, and compensatory strategies. The assessment may also include eye-head coordination tests that measure how well a person’s eyes track a moving object with or without head movement. Other assessments may be used, such as a questionnaire measuring the frequency and severity of symptoms and associated lifestyle changes.
Using these tools, the therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes specific head, body, and eye exercises to be performed both in the therapy setting and at home. These exercises are designed to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system and coordinate them with information from vision and the rest of the body.
United Helpers offers treatment for balance and vestibular disorders at RiverLedge and Maplewood Campus. To schedule an appointment, or for more information, please call Maplewood Campus (Canton, NY) at 386-4541 or RiverLedge Campus (Ogdensburg, NY) at 393-3074.