Treatments

The form of treatment prescribed for vestibular disorders depends upon symptoms, medical history and general health, a physical examination by a qualified doctor, and diagnostic test results. In addition to being treated for any underlying disease that may be contributing to the balance disorder, treatment can include:

– Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT)
– Canalith repositioning maneuvers
– Home-based exercise
– Dietary adjustments
– Medication
– Surgery
– Psychological therapy
– Complementary and alternative medicine (CAM)

Managing Your Care

The form of treatment prescribed for your vestibular disorder may depend upon your symptoms, medical history and general health, a physical examination by a qualified doctor, and diagnostic test results. In addition to being treated for any underlying disease that may be contributing to the balance disorder, treatments can include:

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)

Vestibular rehabilitation is a specialized form of exercise-based therapy designed to alleviate both primary and secondary symptoms of vestibular disorders. VRT uses specific head, body, and eye exercises designed to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system and coordinate them with information from vision and proprioception. The choice and form of VRT exercises will differ from person to person.

Canalith Repositioning Procedure (CRP)

These are specialized maneuvers performed to treat benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). One type of CRM is called the "Epley maneuver." It involves a series of specifically patterned head and trunk movements to move tiny displaced otoliths (often referred to as "crystals") to a place in the inner ear where they can’t cause symptoms.

Home-Based Exercise

Home exercises are often a vital part of balance retraining. Appropriate exercises will be assigned by a physical or occupational therapist to be performed at a prescribed pace, along with a progressive fitness program to increase energy and reduce stress.

Diet

Many people with Ménière’s disease, secondary endolymphatic hydrops, and vestibular migraine find that certain foods can trigger symptoms. Modifications in diet may reduce or alleviate symptoms, and/or may prevent the onset of an acute attack.

Medication

The use of medication in treating vestibular disorders depends on whether the vestibular system dysfunction is in an initial or acute phase (lasting up to 5 days) or chronic phase (ongoing).  Pharmacological treatments may be used to control symptoms, accelerate central compensation, and diminish psychological comorbidity.

Surgery

When medical treatment isn't effective in controlling vertigo and other symptoms caused by vestibular system dysfunction, surgery may be considered. The type of surgery performed depends upon each individual's diagnosis and physical condition. Surgical procedures for peripheral vestibular disorders are either corrective or destructive. The goal of corrective surgery is to repair or stabilize inner ear function. The goal of destructive surgery is to stop the production of sensory information or prevent its transmission from the inner ear to the brain.

Psychological Counseling

Symptoms from vestibular disorders are invisible and unpredictable. This does not mean that they are imaginary, but that they often contribute to a wide range of psychological impacts. People who have a vestibular disorder often need support and may benefit from counseling to cope with lifestyle changes, depression, guilt, and grief that comes from no longer being able to meet their own or others’ expectations.

Complementary, Alternative and Integrative Medicine

Complementary medicine refers to treatments that are used alongside traditional, medical treatments. Alternative medicine refers to treatments that are used instead of standard medical treatments. Integrative medicine is a total approach to medical care that combines standard medicine with complementary and alternative practices with the goal of supporting the patient's overall wellness. Often, these approaches are used to treat the secondary symptoms experienced by many vestibular patients, such as nausea and anxiety. When these symptoms are mitigated, traditional approaches may be more effective.