Get Your Balance Back With These Exercises
“Rehabilitation of vertigo focuses on reducing dizziness, improving balance and addressing other symptoms as well”
Vertigo is often a symptom associated with different medical conditions and refers to the sensation of spinning that occurs due to disturbance in the balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear. It is classified into two types depending on the cause.
- Peripheral vertigo
- Central vertigo
This is the most common type seen among people and is caused when there is an imbalance in the balance system of the inner ear. About 93 per cent cases are categorized as peripheral vertigo and the following are the causes of peripheral vertigo:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
- Head injury
- Vestibular neuronitis
- Meniere’s disease
- Ear injury or infection
- Adverse effect of certain medications
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
It is the commonest type of peripheral vertigo also known as positional vertigo and postural vertigo. It often occurs in short bursts of dizziness and is associated with certain head movements that is triggered by rolling on the side or getting up from bed and looking up. It is caused by the dispersion of particles within the balance organ of the inner ear.
The symptoms of BPPV include:
- Sudden bursts of vertigo
- Dizziness and faintness
- Head movements triggering the vertigo
- The episode may last 30-60 seconds
- Unsteadiness and loss of balance may occur
- Eyes flicker and nystagmus may be observed
Labyrinth is a structure in the inner ear which controls balance and hearing. An inner ear infection is called as labyrinthitis and this causes dizziness. The causes include viral illness, ear infection and sometimes cold and flu.
Post traumatic vertigo followed by a head or neck injury. It may be associated with BPPV or other medical conditions.
It is an outcome of an infection spreading to the vestibular nerve. It occurs post a viral infection, cold and flu. It’s onset is sudden and is associated with unsteadiness, nausea, vomiting and ear ache
It is a disorder of the inner ear and lymphatic system or associated with an imbalance in the inner ear, followed by a viral infection. It often affects only one ear and is a cause of severe dizziness related to loss of balance. Common symptoms include hearing loss, tinnitus, nausea, vomiting, headaches and ear pain.
This kind of vertigo is caused due to disease originating from different parts of the brain like the cerebellum and brainstem. These are gradual in onset and are less intense when compared with peripheral vertigo. The following are the causes of central vertigo:
- Transient ischemic attack or stroke
- Brain tumor
- Multiple sclerosis
Research and evidence-based studies prove that vestibular rehabilitation therapy helps in improving the symptoms related to vestibular disorders and vertigo. The rehabilitation focuses on reducing dizziness, improving balance and addressing other symptoms as well.
Prevention And Precautions
- Those with vertigo, should take precautions and prevent themselves from falls and injuries
- People associated with risk factors should keep a check on their blood pressure and cholesterol
- Changing from one position to another should be done carefully and not in a hurry
- Avoid smoking
- During an attack, lie down and use few pillows to elevate your head or sit down if you feel dizzy and avoid head movements.
- Call for help incase it doesnot stop after a while.
- Maintain a healthy lifestyle
Exercises For Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
Gaze Stabilization Exercises
There are two types of eye and head exercises to promote gaze stabiIity
- In one exercise, the head is fixed and the eyes move in different directions like right to left, up and down, side to side and diagonal The focus point can be your finger or a pen
- In the other exercise, the object and focus point is fixed and the head moves in different directions like right to left, up and down
Balance Training Exercises
These exercises help in improving balance and includes the
- Changing positions like from sitting to standing with eyes open, followed by sitting to standing with eyes closed
- Throwing a ball from one hand to the other at eye level
- Side walks and back walks with assistance
Shoulder And Neck Exercises
Neck movements and shoulder raises and shrugs can also be done to maintain mobility.