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:
- 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?