The Vestibular Rehabilitation Program at Lahey Hospital & Medical Center is an exercise-based treatment for the symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, or disequilibrium arising from disorders of the inner ear. For patients who are diagnosed with a treatable vestibular (inner ear) problem, physical therapy directed at resolving the source of the difficulty or encouraging compensation from other aspects of the balance system has been proven very effective. Problems that can be addressed with physical therapy include unilateral inner ear dysfunction, bilateral inner ear dysfunction, episodes of benign positional vertigo, gait and balance disorders, and chronic imbalance arising from multiple types of inner ear disorders including Meniere's disease, as well as disequilibrium arising from defective central vestibular structures. Your physician will help you determine whether vestibular rehabilitation is right for you.
Fall prevention is a very important part of vestibular rehabilitation. Even if testing shows that a person suffering imbalance does not have a vestibular disorder, he or she may be referred to vestibular rehabilitation for fall prevention. (For example, imbalance may be caused by poor eyesight, poor sensation in the feet, or weak leg muscles.) A balance aid such as a cane may be all that is needed to help restore balance and prevent injuries that can result from falling. Screening tests are used to ascertain the person's risk of falling, and an appropriate treatment is implemented accordingly.