Vestibular rehabilitation is a type of physical therapy that addresses issues with dizziness or balance, often related to inner ear issues. The therapy includes a series of exercises designed to reduce these issues that include balance retraining, vision stability training, stretching and strengthening, walking exercises, posture training, and general exercises to decrease dizziness. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy may be done on its own. Or it may be a part of a wider treatment plan. It is often part of a post-surgery treatment plan.
You don’t have to suffer from vertigo or dizziness. In most cases, insurance covers vestibular rehab. Talk to your insurance provider for coverage insurance. To learn if vestibular rehab is right for you, contact our PT clinic to schedule a free evaluation and consultation:
What is vestibular rehabilitation?
Vestibular rehabilitation addresses issues with dizziness through an exercise-based therapy program. The goal of this therapy is to improve balance and reduce dizziness, often related to inner-ear issues.
Vestibular rehabilitation falls in the wheelhouse of physical therapy. You will work with a physical therapist who is trained to address issues of dizziness and balance. Vestibular rehabilitation begins with an initial assessment that includes an assessment of the following areas:
- General stability and mobility
- Balance assessment
- Leg strength
- Neck and arm mobility
- Inner ear exam
After your initial assessment, your physical therapist will design a custom treatment plan. The goal of the treatment plan will be to undergo vestibular rehabilitation customized to your specific issues to address dizziness issues and improve your quality of life.
You may benefit from vestibular rehabilitation if you suffer from any of these symptoms: Dizziness upon standing, sitting, laying down, or with movement
- Dizziness upon standing, sitting, laying down, or with movement
- General wooziness or fogginess in the head
- Blurry vision with head movement
- Neck tightness or pain
- Frequent falls
- Meinere’s disease
- Concussion or post-concussion syndrom
- Issues dropping objects
- Chronic headaches or migranes
Once you have finished your in-clinic vestibular rehabilitation therapy your physical therapist will teach you at-home exercises to continue addressing problems with dizziness and balance so that they disappear completely and do not return.
When do I need vestibular rehabilitation?
If you are suffering from any dizziness-related issues then vestibular rehabilitation may be able to improve your quality of life. Dizziness may occur when you are standing still, lying down, or when you move positions such as going from sitting to standing or standing to sitting. For many people, these dizziness issues last only a few seconds. However, even a few seconds of dizziness consistently can decrease the quality of life for many people and make them feel uncomfortable in certain settings. Additionally, for many people, a dizziness sensation can last for several minutes, several hours, or even be a constant feeling they suffer from.
Here are some of the effects that fall under the category of dizziness:
- Feeling unsteady
- Feeling like your head is ‘swimming’
- Lack of balance
- Spinning sensation
- Floating sensation
- Swaying sensation
- Tilting sensation
- Feeling like you may pass out
- Sensation that things are moving
Dizziness issues are much more common than you may think. Over 10 million people turn to their healthcare provider due to issues with dizziness every year. While it is usually not serious, it can negatively affect the quality of life and create problems. It is often linked to inner ear problems or a side effect of certain medications. However, it can also be a sign of a brain or heart problem and should be addressed by a physician. Dizziness issues are most common in people over the age of 75.
How long does it take?
Vestibular rehabilitation therapy typically takes between 6 to 8 weeks, attending therapy 1 or 2 times each week. However, some patients can successfully address their issues with balance or dizziness in just 1 or 2 sessions of therapy and can see results in as little as 48 hours. People with more severe issues may need a few months of rehabilitation. No two treatment plans will be the same. Your physical therapist will build a custom treatment plan for you that includes a timeline for vestibular rehabilitation and visit frequency.
A clinical study of vestibular rehabilitation patients found that it was a simple, cost-effective way to improve chronic dizziness. Patients in the study reported an improvement after 12 weeks and again at the one-year mark.
Is vestibular rehab covered by insurance?
Insurance coverage for vestibular rehabilitation therapy varies and will solely depend on your coverage from your specific insurance provider. Many insurance companies will cover vestibular rehabilitation if you have coverage for physical therapy. It is more likely to be covered if you are referred by your healthcare provider and vestibular rehabilitation is recommended for your medical health. Vestibular rehabilitation patients are commonly above the age of 75 and it is covered under Medicare.