Forty percent of people over the age of 40 experience dizziness or balance problems at some point in their life. There are many causes for dizziness, but a large percentage is caused by an imbalance or loss within the inner ear or vestibular system.Our physical therapists treat patients with dizziness and/or imbalance resulting from disorders including:
Vestibular Rehabilitation is a specific form of physical therapy designed to decrease dizziness and improve balance disorders.
Goals of Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
The goals of Vestibular Rehabilitation are to improve balance and focus, decrease falls and the sensation of dizziness. By decreasing the frequency, intensity, and duration of your vertigo/dizziness your other symptoms such as headache, nausea, and lightheadedness are decreased and your independence in daily life is increased.
The accurate diagnosis and assessment of an inner ear condition is critical for a successful individualised Vestibular Rehabilitation program.
The diagnosis includes the assessment of functional abilities such as walking, eye movements and specific measures of dizziness.
Using the result of this evaluation, we develop an individualised treatment plan that will include exercises to be performed both in the therapy and at home and that combine specific head and body movements with eye exercises. The rehabilitation program will be designed to decrease symptoms and restore function.
Conditions that respond well to treatment
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – A problem of the inner ear caused by particles that break off and accumulate behind a membrane in the inner ear canals.
Vertigo – A false sense of movement.
Inflammation in the inner ear Neuronitis or labyrinthitis
After removal of acoustic neuroma – An acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous (benign) growth on the acoustic nerve, which connects the inner ear to the brain. Symptoms of an acoustic neuroma may include dizziness, loss of balance, hearing loss and tinnitus.
Motion sickness - Riding on a roller coaster or in boats, cars or even airplanes may occasionally make people dizzy.
Inner ear (vestibular) problems - Abnormalities in the inner ear can cause a sensation of floating or a heavy head — and unsteadiness in the dark.
Balance disorders - Failing vision and nerve damage in the legs (peripheral neuropathy) are common in older adults and may result in difficulty maintaining balance.
Joint and muscle problems - Muscle weakness and osteoarthritis, the type of arthritis that involves wear and tear of the joints, can contribute to loss of balance when it involves weight-bearing joints.
Anxiety disorders - Certain anxiety disorders such as panic attacks and a fear of leaving home or being in large, open spaces (agoraphobia) may cause lightheadedness.
Hyperventilation - Abnormally rapid breathing that often accompanies anxiety disorders may cause a feeling of light-headedness.
A traumatic brain injury (TBI) is defined as a blow or jolt to the head or a penetrating head injury that disrupts the function of the brain.
Not all blows or jolts to the head result in a TBI.
The severity of such an injury may range from “mild,” i.e., a brief change in mental status or consciousness to “severe,” i.e., an extended period of unconsciousness or amnesia after the injury.
A TBI can result in short or long-term problems with independent function.
The leading causes of TBI are: Falls (28%); Motor vehicle-traffic crashes (20%); Struck by/against (19%); andAssaults (11%).
TBI can cause a wide range of functional changes affecting thinking, language, learning, emotions, behavior, and/or sensation. It can also cause epilepsy and increase the risk for conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, and other brain disorders that become more prevalent with age.
The Physiotherapist will address any specific physical problems a person might have after sustaining a brain injury. These might include:
BalanceCoordinationParalysisSpasticityExercise tolerancePerceptionProprioceptionRange of movementStrength
Often there may not be any obvious physical difficulties, however due to reduced fitness and tolerance a person can be affected by fatigue. This will affect their overall functioning not just physically but mentally as well.
The goal of a stroke rehabilitation program is to help you relearn skills you lost when a stroke affected part of your brain.
Stroke rehabilitation can help you regain independence and improve your quality of life.
The severity of stroke complications and each person’s ability to recover lost abilities varies widely.
Researchers have found that the central nervous system is adaptive and can recover some functions.
They also have found that it’s necessary to keep practicing regained skills.
Strengthening motor skills involves using exercises to help improve your muscle strength and coordination, including therapy to help with swallowing.
Mobility training may include learning to use walking aids, such as a walker or canes, or a plastic brace (orthosis) to stabilize and assist ankle strength to help support your body’s weight while you relearn how to walk.
Constraint-induced therapy, also known as forced-use therapy, involves restricting use of an unaffected limb while you practice moving the affected limb to help improve its function.
Range-of-motion therapy uses exercises and other treatments to help lessen muscle tension (spasticity) and regain range of motion. Sometimes medication can help as well.
Functional electrical stimulation involves using electricity to stimulate weakened muscles, causing them to contract. This may help with muscle re-education.
Virtual reality,such as the use of video games and the wii, is an emerging area of treatment.
Recovering from a stroke can be a long and sometimes frustrating experience. It’s normal to face difficulties along the way. Dedication and willingness to work toward improvement will help you gain the most benefit.
According to the NZ Stroke guidelines clients should have as much therapy appropriate to their needs as they are willing and able to tolerate.
UK guidelines support the above statement but stipulate the minimum intervention of 45 minutes daily for each therapy required
Research into the amount of therapy indicated a greater amount of exercise therapy resulted in higher ability in Activities of daily living and walking (gait) speed.
The effects of a spinal cord injury vary according to the type and level of injury, and can be organized into two types:In a complete injury, there is no function below the injured level.
Recent evidence suggest that less than 5% of people with “complete” spinal cord injury recover movement.
A person with an incomplete injury retains some sensation or movement below the level of the injury.
Recent evidence suggest that over 95% of people with “incomplete” spinal cord injury recover some locomotory ability.
A physiotherapy program can facilitate the restoration of muscle strength, flexibility, improve mobility, coordination, and maintain body functions through exercise. Massage, hydrotherapy, and other modalities can relieve pain.A major factor in successful rehabilitation is motivation. It requires motivation, first, to accept irreversible facts
It takes still more motivation to make the most of what has not been injured – talent, creative energies, intellectual resources.
BALANCE WORKS PHYSIOTHERAPY
45 Bewdley Street SpreydonChristchurch 8011
021 240 2292