To better understand what Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy is, a good place to start would be understanding what the vestibular system is.
What Is The Vestibular System?
The vestibular system is a complex sensory system that regulates our balance and spatial orientation. In other words, it’s responsible for helping you maintain balance under any circumstance: Jumping, running, flipping, etc.
It’s located within the inner ear, in a region known as the vestibular labyrinth.
It can also provide sensory information about motion and equilibrium.
The cerebellum region of our brain can use this information with visual input from our eyes—for example, in situations where we’re moving and trying to also see a moving object, like hitting a baseball).
It also uses information based on touch sensory inputs from muscles and joints (which tells us about the position of parts of our body) to help keep our bodies balanced. Under normal circumstances, when the cerebellum detects a lack of balance, it will send messages to the necessary muscle groups in order to help us change position and regain balance.
As you can see, it’s a very complex system—one that sometimes needs a little recalibrating.
Symptoms Of Issues
Symptoms of a malfunctioning vestibular system can range from things like dizziness and vertigo, to gaze instability and falls.
Multiple factors can affect a person’s potential for recovery from these issues, including their activity level, pain, emotional concerns, medications, physical factors, and any coexisting medical conditions. (For example, one trait that provides athletes and people with active lifestyles more stability and promotes good balance is having strong ankles.)
What Is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?
In simple terms, it’s a therapy to help people regain balance, alleviate dizziness and instability, and improve responsiveness to visual/sensory cues.
Training the vestibular system isn’t reserved only for people experiencing balance issues.
Training this system to become more responsive, even as a healthy athlete, helps enhance body awareness and can dramatically improve an athlete’s balance even in unfamiliar surroundings and circumstances.
What Does This Look Like In The Real World?
An example in sports: Have you ever seen a pitcher slip in the middle of throwing a pitch, but still somehow organize and interpret their senses to maintain balance in an unexpected, unnatural position—and still throw a strike? That’s what we’re talking about.
Who Does Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy In Victoria?
The human body is an incredible machine—but as you know, there are many ways to enhance its performance.
That’s why at Continuum Health Centre, vestibular rehabilitation is just one of many therapies offered to promote performance, well-being, and a healthy lifestyle for all of their athletic and active lifestyle clients.