What Is A Vestibular Rehabilitation Program (VRP)?

Inner Ear Anatomy isolate on white

Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based program, designed by a specialized physical therapist, to improve balance and reduce dizziness-related problems.

At your appointment, a physical therapist will evaluate your symptoms and review your medical history. He or she will identify any problems with your balance, your gait (how you walk), neck motion, visual stability, as well as examine other potential problem areas. Based on the findings, a plan of care is developed.

Patients who are typically referred for vestibular rehabilitation therapy are those diagnosed with dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, Meniere’s syndrome, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), neck-related dizziness, post-concussion and migraines. Other candidates are patients who have had a stroke or brain injury or patients who frequently fall or have a fear of falling.

Dizziness is generally not serious, even though it can be scary. It is often a sign of a mechanical problem. Dizziness can be due to an inner ear disorder, a side effect of medications, a sign of neck dysfunction, or it can be due to a more serious problem such as a brain or a heart problem.

Dizziness is defined as feelings of unsteadiness; wooziness (swimming feeling in head); lightheadedness; feelings of passing out; and sensations of moving, spinning, floating, swaying, tilting, or whirling (sensations known as vertigo). These sensations can occur when standing still, lying down or when changing positions. The symptoms can last from seconds to minutes to days. For some people the symptoms are constant; others experience only short episodes of symptoms. Some may come and go.

  • Dizziness or blurry vision with head movements
  • Neck tightness, stiffness and/or pain
  • Imbalance or the need to hold onto objects when walking
  • Headaches
  • Frequent falls
  • Generalized “dizziness, wooziness and foggy head” feelings
  • Vertigo/spinning

The goal of your treatment plan is to identify and improve any deficits that were identified. This, in turn, will improve your ability to function in activities of everyday living, reduce your risk for falling, and ultimately, improve your quality of life.

No two treatment plans are exactly alike. We will be sure to customize a program just for you because we know continuing this plan at home will help prevent and/or treat dizziness and balance episodes.

Some patients may be seen for only 1 to 2 sessions; other patients may need continued treatment for a few months. The therapist makes individualized recommendations based on the needs of the patient, severity of symptoms, and response to therapy. Once you “graduate” you may choose to return to our “AFTERCARE PROGRAM” to continue your quest for fitness and stay mobile.

Expected vestibular rehabilitation outcomes include:

  • Decreased fall risk
  • Decreased dizziness symptoms
  • Improved balance
  • Improved ability to stabilize vision/gaze
  • Increased body strength
  • Return to prior level of movement/function
  • Increase in confidence in ability to maintain balance
  • Improved neck motion, reduced symptoms
  • Improved gait function