Vestibular Disorders

It is very common to have dizziness triggered by watching things move, as opposed to moving oneself. Many people feel dizzy in busy visual environments, such as browsing in a crowded grocery store, at busy intersections, or even seeing someone carrying a boldly striped bag. This problem, referred to by British researchers as visual vertigo, is caused by your brain not being able to match up the information coming from your eyes, your inner ear and the proprioception sensors on your joints. When you watch a 3-D movie, your eyes follow things around as if you were actually moving. If your brain is hard-wired to believe your eyes more than your inner ear or body, the message from your eyes will dominate and you’ll feel dizzy.

A treatment for visually-stimulated vertigo consists of watching things in motion. Audiologist Erica Zaia suggests repeatedly watching full-screen versions of the NED Leader (right and left) video clips on YouTube. When you get the feeling that you want to look away, watch for three to five seconds longer. Becoming accustomed to doing the tai chi “cloud hands” movement follows the same principle; it habituates your brain to the movement of your hands.

Below are some optokinetic videos.

Once you are used to these, try this one:

The following playlists compile complex exercises:


Vestibular Rehabilitation Exercises

Some of the vestibular rehabilitation activities done under supervision are taught to clients to practice at home in a safe and controlled manner. These activities include:

  • motion-sensitivity exercises such as rolling in bed, sitting to standing, and walking while turning the head
  • many different balance exercises
  • visual or gaze exercises
  • “target shooting,” that is keeping the head still while moving the eyes, or moving the head and keeping the eyes still
  • the Epley maneuver to re-position ear crystals

A treatment for visually-stimulated vertigo consists of watching things in motion. Audiologist Erica Zaia suggests repeatedly watching full-screen versions of the NED Leader (right and left) video clips on YouTube. When you get the feeling that you want to look away, watch for three to five seconds longer. Becoming accustomed to doing the tai chi “cloud hands” movement follows the same principle; it habituates your brain to the movement of your hands.

Below are some optokinetic exercise videos.

This is a basic one:

These two are harder:

Once you are used to these, try this one:

The following playlists compile complex exercises:


In a nutshell, vestibular rehabilitation gets our brains used to what makes us uncomfortable. The overall goal of vestibular rehabilitation is to increase quality of life by acclimatizing the body to the disorder. Vestibular rehabilitation is:

  • symptom-based
  • matched to the individual’s particular needs
  • appropriate for people with a vestibular disorder or a secondary complication

During vestibular rehabilitation, the vestibular symptoms are intentionally provoked in a safe and controlled manner to desensitize the brain. Clients are taught how to move their heads, for example, so their brains gradually become habituated to the movement and recognize that it isn’t a scary thing to be avoided.

The initial visit to a vestibular physiotherapist includes a full assessment that allows the physiotherapist to set up a rehabilitation program that allows the client to progress safely through sets of exercises.

Physiotherapists take a big picture approach, promoting overall health and exercise to prevent secondary complications as well as increased activity levels to guide clients towards full recovery. They emphasize the importance of stress and sleep management: anxiety and fatigue result in exaggerated symptoms. Keeping a log and rating your symptoms on a one (best) and ten (worst) scale is recommended. If your dizziness it ten out of ten on a really bad day, look back and see what happened – how was your sleep, did something stressful happen?

It is very common to have dizziness triggered by watching things move, as opposed to moving oneself. Many people feel dizzy in busy visual environments, such as browsing in a crowded grocery store, at busy intersections, or even seeing someone carrying a boldly striped bag. This problem, referred to by British researchers as visual vertigo, is caused by your brain not being able to match up the information coming from your eyes, your inner ear and the proprioception sensors on your joints. When you watch a 3-D movie, your eyes follow things around as if you were actually moving. If your brain is hard-wired to believe your eyes more than your inner ear or body, the message from your eyes will dominate and you’ll feel dizzy.

A treatment for visually-stimulated vertigo consists of watching things in motion. Audiologist Erica Zaia suggests repeatedly watching full-screen versions of the NED Leader (right and left) video clips on YouTube. When you get the feeling that you want to look away, watch for three to five seconds longer. Becoming accustomed to doing the tai chi “cloud hands” movement follows the same principle; it habituates your brain to the movement of your hands.

Below are some optokinetic videos.

Once you are used to these, try this one:

The following playlists compile complex exercises:


Visual Vertigo

It is very common to have dizziness triggered by watching things move, as opposed to moving oneself. Many people feel dizzy in busy visual environments, such as browsing in a crowded grocery store, at busy intersections, or even seeing someone carrying a boldly striped bag. This problem, referred to by British researchers as visual vertigo, is caused by your brain not being able to match up the information coming from your eyes, your inner ear and the proprioception sensors on your joints. When you watch a 3-D movie, your eyes follow things around as if you were actually moving. If your brain is hard-wired to believe your eyes more than your inner ear or body, the message from your eyes will dominate and you’ll feel dizzy.

A treatment for visually-stimulated vertigo consists of watching things in motion. Audiologist Erica Zaia suggests repeatedly watching full-screen versions of the NED Leader (right and left) video clips on YouTube. When you get the feeling that you want to look away, watch for three to five seconds longer. Becoming accustomed to doing the tai chi “cloud hands” movement follows the same principle; it habituates your brain to the movement of your hands.

Below are some optokinetic videos.

Once you are used to these, try this one:

The following playlists compile complex exercises:


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