vestibular physiotherapy for vertigo surrey

Vertigo is a distressing condition characterized by a sensation of spinning or dizziness, which can significantly impact daily activities and overall quality of life. Vestibular physiotherapy is an effective treatment approach for managing vertigo. This blog post explores the root causes of vertigo, the role of vestibular physiotherapy in treating vertigo, and what you can expect from treatment.


Identifying the Root Cause of Vertigo

Vertigo is often caused by problems within the inner ear or the vestibular system, which helps regulate balance. One common cause of vertigo is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). BPPV occurs when tiny calcium particles, known as canaliths, become dislodged and move into the semicircular canals of the inner ear. This movement disrupts the normal fluid movement in these canals, sending incorrect signals to the brain about your body’s position and causing a spinning sensation.

Another cause of vertigo is Meniere’s disease, a condition characterized by fluid buildup in the inner ear, leading to episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. Inflammations of the inner ear or the vestibular nerve can also cause vertigo. These conditions are usually related to viral infections and result in severe dizziness and balance issues.

In some cases, vertigo can be a symptom of migraines, referred to as vestibular migraines, where dizziness and imbalance accompany the typical headache symptoms. Additionally, certain neurological conditions can contribute to vertigo by affecting the vestibular system or the brain’s ability to process balance information.


How Vestibular Physiotherapy Helps with Vertigo

Vestibular physiotherapy is highly effective in treating vertigo. This specialized form of physiotherapy focuses on the vestibular system, which includes parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance and eye movements. Vestibular physiotherapists use a variety of techniques to help you manage and reduce vertigo symptoms.

  • Initial Assessment: The first step in vestibular physiotherapy is a thorough assessment to identify the specific cause and characteristics of the vertigo. This may involve a series of tests to evaluate balance, eye movements, and inner ear function.
  • Balance and Coordination Exercises: These exercises are designed to improve balance and coordination by retraining the brain to compensate for the faulty signals from the inner ear. This helps reduce dizziness and improve stability.
  • Habituation Exercises: These exercises involve repeated exposure to movements that trigger vertigo, helping the brain to gradually reduce its sensitivity to these movements and decrease vertigo symptoms over time.
  • Gaze Stabilization Exercises: These exercises help improve control of eye movements and reduce dizziness by stabilizing vision during head movements.

Through these targeted techniques, vestibular physiotherapy addresses the underlying issues causing vertigo, leading to significant improvements in balance and a reduction in dizziness.


The Best Therapy for Vertigo

The best therapy for vertigo depends on the underlying cause of the condition. Vestibular physiotherapy is considered one of the most effective treatments for many types of vertigo, particularly BPPV, vestibular neuritis, and vestibular migraines. Other therapies that have proven to be effective include:

  • Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers: For BPPV, canalith repositioning maneuvers such as the Epley maneuver are often the first line of treatment. These maneuvers are highly effective in repositioning the dislodged calcium particles within the inner ear, providing quick relief from vertigo symptoms.
  • Lifestyle Modifications: For conditions like Meniere’s disease, dietary changes such as reducing salt intake can help manage fluid buildup in the inner ear. Avoiding triggers like caffeine and alcohol can also help reduce vertigo episodes.
  • Stress Management: Chronic stress can contribute to the severity of vertigo symptoms. Techniques such as mindfulness, deep breathing exercises, and other relaxation methods can help manage stress levels and, in turn, reduce vertigo episodes.

Overall, the best therapy for vertigo is often a combination of vestibular physiotherapy and lifestyle modifications tailored to the individual’s specific condition and symptoms. Consulting with a healthcare professional can help determine the most effective treatment plan.


How Long Does Physiotherapy for Vertigo Last?

The duration of physiotherapy for vertigo can vary widely depending on the underlying cause of the vertigo, the severity of the symptoms, and the individual’s response to treatment. Typically, an initial course of treatment may involve multiple sessions a week for a few weeks or months. 

For conditions such as Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), significant improvement can often be seen after just a few sessions. However, more chronic or complex cases, such as vestibular neuritis or Meniere’s disease, may require a longer course of therapy. 

In some instances, ongoing maintenance sessions may be recommended to manage symptoms and prevent recurrence. The physiotherapist will continually assess progress and adjust the treatment plan as needed to ensure the best outcomes.


Exercises for Vertigo

Specific exercises can be highly effective in managing vertigo by improving balance, reducing dizziness, and enhancing overall stability. Here are some commonly recommended exercises:

  • Brandt-Daroff Exercises: These exercises are designed to desensitize the vestibular system and reduce vertigo symptoms. Start by sitting on the edge of a bed. Quickly lie down on one side with your nose pointed up at a 45-degree angle. Stay in this position for 30 seconds or until dizziness subsides. Return to the sitting position and repeat on the other side.
  • Gaze Stabilization Exercises: These exercises help improve control of eye movements and reduce dizziness. Focus on a stationary object and move your head from side to side, then up and down, while keeping your eyes fixed on the object. Start slowly and gradually increase the speed as your control improves.
  • Balance Exercises: Simple balance exercises can help improve stability and reduce dizziness. Stand on one leg for 30 seconds, then switch to the other leg. Use a stable surface for support if needed. As you progress, try closing your eyes or standing on an unstable surface to further challenge your balance.
  • Epley Maneuver: This maneuver is specifically effective for BPPV. Sit on the edge of your bed and turn your head 45 degrees to the side that causes vertigo. Quickly lie back with your head hanging off the edge of the bed and stay in this position for 30 seconds. Turn your head 90 degrees to the opposite side and hold for another 30 seconds. Finally, turn your head and body another 90 degrees to the same side and sit up.

Performing these exercises regularly can help manage vertigo symptoms and improve your overall quality of life. It is important to consult with a physiotherapist before starting any exercise program to ensure the exercises are appropriate for your specific condition and to learn the correct techniques.


Can Vertigo Be Cured for Good?

The possibility of curing vertigo for good depends largely on the underlying cause of the condition. For many individuals, especially those with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), vertigo can often be resolved completely with appropriate treatment. Canalith repositioning maneuvers can effectively move dislodged calcium particles back to their original position, providing lasting relief from vertigo symptoms.

For other causes of vertigo, such as vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis, recovery can also be substantial with vestibular physiotherapy. In these cases, the body’s natural ability to compensate and adapt to changes in the vestibular system often leads to significant improvement over time.

Chronic conditions like Meniere’s disease may not be entirely curable, but symptoms can be effectively managed and controlled through a combination of treatments that help reduce the frequency and severity of vertigo episodes.


Find Your Balance Again

Vestibular physiotherapy is a powerful tool for managing and treating vertigo. By understanding the root causes of vertigo and the best therapies available, individuals can take proactive steps toward improving their balance and reducing dizziness. Whether through targeted exercises, maneuvers, or lifestyle adjustments, vestibular physiotherapy offers a comprehensive approach to managing vertigo. If you are experiencing vertigo and seeking treatment, consider Pure Life Physiotherapy & Health Centre in Surrey. Our team is dedicated to helping you achieve better balance and a life free from dizziness. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.