Dysfunction in the inner ear commonly occurs after a stroke and with other neurological diagnoses such as multiple sclerosis. Symptoms include: dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness, nausea, loss of balance, visual changes, difficulty walking in low light.

Physical therapists trained in vestibular rehabilitation can help decrease and manage the symptoms of certain vestibular imbalances. The brain actually has the ability to adjust to these imbalances and vestibular therapy can help speed up this process with specific exercises designed to improve your muscular and visual reflexes.

Vestibular rehabilitation can also treat severe vertigo caused by BPPV (crystals that become lodged in the inner ear fluid). Misplaced crystals cause your body to lose its orientation to gravity which leads to violent vertigo (sense of the world spinning around you). Symptoms usually occur when rolling over in bed. Physical therapists can take you through a series of specific motions to help these dislodged crystals fall back into place.

Vestibular dysfunction is most commonly diagnosed by an otolaryngologist (ear and throat specialist) or neurologist. It is important to talk with your doctor to rule out other serious conditions and medication interactions which may also cause dizziness.

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