Exercise or vestibular rehabilitation is an important part of the treatment of vestibular disorders. These workouts help reduce the dizziness and aid to regain balance.
The vestibular or inner ear function helps maintain our body equilibrium when still or in motion, controlling our position and helping us work against gravitational force. The vestibular region comprises of nerves, hair cells, calcium particles and fluid. Every element works in tandem with each other to recognise the body’s kinetic position with regards to gravity and balance the body accordingly.
Eyes (Visual), Ear (Vestibular) and Legs (Musculoskeletal) contribute & send the sensory information about body’s position to the brain and maintain equilibrium. The vestibular is closely connected to the eyes. Vestibular-Ocular Reflex (VOR) carries out the essential function to stabilise the eye movements and helps maintain stable vision when our head moves in different directions. On the contrary defective VOR triggers, tremors in the eyes called nystagmus. Nystagmus is sign of dizziness or balance disorders
Infection, inflammation, or other functional disturbances can cause the vestibular disorder, which is manifest as vertigo or dizziness. These inner ear problems are treatable through medication, exercises and medical procedures according to the underlying cause.
Physical therapies are popular to treat vertigo due to their effectiveness in bringing relief to the vertigo patients. The exercises Help strengthen the weakened system and train the central nervous system to develop alternate strategies to deal with imbalance.
Here are some of the useful vertigo exercises to treat vestibular disorders
The vertigo exercises help stabilise the vestibular-ocular reflex and lead to the harmonised working of visual and vestibular systems. Whenever we move our head, the inner ear (vestibular region) tries to understand the relative position and help stabilize the image on the retina. The purpose of vertigo exercises is to improve the vestibular function and help maintain the body equilibrium.
Step1: Fix your gaze on a point (or an object, whichever is easy for you) at a distance
Step2: Slowly move your head sideways, without moving your gaze from the point/object
Step3: Do sideways movement of head in 3 reiterations and rest for 1-2 minutes
Step4: Start by slowly moving your head up and down while looking at the point/object
Step5: Do up & down movement of head in 3 reiterations and rest for 1-2 minutes
Regular work-out of vestibular-ocular muscles help recover the balance mechanism in the vestibular system. Starting from exercising on alternate days, you can go up to doing them twice daily. Don’t rush through the exercises. Let your body decide the frequency of workouts. Sometimes, when you start, you will feel dizzy, in such cases, stop exercising and rest adequately. You can restart the exercises once you feel comfortable again.
- Make sure you do these exercises while sitting or ensure someone’s presence in the room to hold you just in case you feel dizzy and lose your balance.
- Steer clear of dangerous objects, or places when exercising.
The above exercise is called gaze stabilisation. It is one of the many other VOR exercises done to recalibrate the visual, vestibular and central nervous system. These are relatively simple activities yet are notably effective vestibular rehabilitation therapies.
As you progress through the exercises with less difficulty and fewer episodes of vertigo, your therapist may advise you to do the vertigo exercises standing or walking. You should not do these exercises unmanned, as there are chances of drop attacks during exercising.
The therapists at NeuroEquilibrium’s advanced vertigo and balance clinics, conduct these exercises on highly sophisticated equipment that enable them to monitor and measure the results and improvements on sound medical data. Although doing at home is comfortable, real evaluation is possible only at clinics. Seeing your progress and comfort level, the therapist may suggest you do these exercises at home and come in for the assessment at regular periods.
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