Sierra Nevada Ear, Nose & Throat is proud to announce the opening of its brand new Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation.
“Vestibular” refers to the intricate network between the inner ear and brain that processes sensory cues and controls balance. As you move, so does the fluid in your ear, sending messages to your brain about spatial positioning. When this process is disrupted, balance problems–vestibular disorders–can occur. A vestibular disorder may result in dizziness, vertigo, gaze instability, imbalance and/or falls.
At Sierra Nevada ENT, we specialize in physical therapy for balance, also known as vestibular therapy. Our trained medical team will work with you from diagnosis through treatment, including balance therapy options for a variety of issues. Learn more about the symptoms of–and treatment for–balance problems below, and make an appointment with our Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation today.
Balance Problem Symptoms
According to the Vestibular Disorders Association, approximately 35 percent of U.S adults over the age of 40 have experienced a vestibular issue at some point in their life; among adults over the age of 65, this percentage more than doubles.
How do you know if you are experiencing a vestibular disorder and could benefit from balance therapy? Common symptoms include:
- Dizziness and/or vertigo
Vertigo is the distorted sense that you or your surroundings are spinning or whirling. Dizziness is a more general term that includes vertigo, but may also describe feeling lightheaded, unsteady or “woozy.”
- Gaze instability
Gaze instability is sometimes called visual blurring. It occurs when head and eye movements are out of sync and results in an inability to focus on objects. Patients frequently first notice the issue when walking or running.
- Imbalance and/or falls
Imbalance includes difficulty staying upright or navigating while walking and can be particularly dangerous when it leads to falls and potential injury.
Other symptoms that may indicate or accompany balance problems include:
- Nausea or vomiting
- Tinnitus (ringing in the ears) or hearing loss
- Inability to concentrate
Sierra Nevada ENT specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of a variety of balance disorders at our Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation. If you are experiencing new or worsening symptoms, particularly if they interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis, contact us today.
What is Balance Therapy?
Balance therapy consists of physical exercises to alleviate symptoms associated with vestibular disorders, allowing patients to reduce and even eliminate dizziness, vertigo, gaze instability, imbalance and falls.
Exercises generally fall into one of three categories.
Habituation aims to decrease the severity of a response through repeated exposure to the problematic stimuli. It works best with patients who experience dizziness or instability in conjunction with movements, such as turning their head quickly or looking up.
- Gaze stabilization
Gaze stabilization exercises are specific, repeated movements of the head while viewing objects set against different backgrounds. It is generally recommended for those who experience visual blurring, difficulty focusing, and/or dizziness with movement such as walking.
- Balance training
Balance training involves exercises to strengthen posture and body mechanics when standing still and while moving in a controlled environment in order to reduce the risk of falling and improve safety with daily activities. Any patient experiencing instability with daily activities will benefit from this approach.
Physical therapy for balance teaches both your body and brain to compensate for the disruption to your sensory system. While each balance therapy method targets a different issue, all involve consistent exposure and movements that build upon one another gradually in a safe and professional setting.
At the Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation, our experts tailor each vestibular therapy program to an individual patient’s specific needs, helping them reduce symptoms and return to normal daily function.
Vestibular Disorders That Benefit From Balance Therapy
There is no single cause of vestibular disorders. They may be the result of infection or disease, injury, age or medication. Sometimes, there is no obvious underlying source.
While it is not always possible to diagnose the cause of balance problems, it IS possible to treat the symptoms. Almost all vestibular disorders can benefit from balance therapy.
Issues that are often referred to vestibular therapy include, but are not limited to:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis
- Ménière’s disease
- Secondary endolymphatic hydrops
- Mal de Débarquement (MDD)
- Vestibular migraine
- Cervical vertigo (cervicogenic dizziness)
- Stroke, traumatic brain injury or persistent concussion symptoms (PCS)
Balance problems can be sustained or episodic in nature and are often highly disruptive to daily functions. As a result, individuals suffering from balance problems may cease normal activities and experience anxiety, depression, or other physical or mental health issues. This can have profound social and economic ramifications.
If you have been diagnosed with a vestibular condition, it is time to see an ear, nose and throat doctor to determine what form of physical therapy for balance may be right for you. Call Sierra Nevada ENT today to make an appointment with specialists at our Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation.
Visit Our Center
With locations in Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville and Fallon, Sierra Nevada ENT has been proudly serving the Northern Nevada area for over 25 years.
Our Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation specializes in balance therapy for patients with a variety of issues, including vertigo, dizziness, reduced inner ear function and more.
We offer physical therapy in a caring, safe and professional setting. Our team is committed to helping patients alleviate symptoms associated with balance disorders and return to normal function. Call to schedule an appointment today.