The Vestibular System
THE INNER EAR – THE BRAIN’S “BALANCE CENTER.”
The primary role of the vestibular system is to tell the brain where the head is in space. Quite simply, the vestibular system is our internal reference telling the brain how our head is orientated – up, down, tilted, etc.
People with vestibular—inner ear—disorders often experience problems with balance or movement–related dizziness. These symptoms affect a person’s ability to change positions (such as lying down and getting up from a chair) or move about without imbalance and vertigo. Loss of balance and dizziness can be debilitating and contribute to a diminished quality of life
WHAT IS VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION:
Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise- based program designed by a specialized physical therapist to improve balance
and reduce dizziness-related problems. A treatment plan will be developed that will improve your ability to function in the activities of everyday living, reduce your risk of falling, and, ultimately, improve your quality of life.
WHO BENEFITS FROM VESTIBULAR REHABILITATION?
Patients who can benefit from vestibular rehabilitation therapy are those diagnosed with dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, Meniere’s syndrome, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), neck-related dizziness, and migraines. Other candidates are patients who have had a stroke or brain injury or who frequently fall.
DIZZINESS IS DEFINED AS…
Feelings of unsteadiness
Wooziness (queasy and disoriented)
Feelings of passing out
Sensations of moving, spinning, swaying, tilting, or whirling
These sensations occur when standing still, lying down, or changing positions
Symptoms can last for seconds, minutes, or days
You can be fitter, faster, stronger, and more independent. We will work hard to help you achieve your goals in a healthy way.
COMPUTERIZED DYNAMIC POSTUROGRAPHY (CDP)
Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP) is an evolving diagnostic and therapeutic tool that is becoming increasingly beneficial for our patients. This device is used to measure a patient’s current function of balance. This establishes a baseline for us to quantify the current disability. It then allows us to follow our patients progress throughout therapy and objectively measure their results. Think of it as a blood pressure for balance. We measure balance at the beginning or our patient’s treatment and guide our therapy by its results.
The Bertec CPD unit is the pinnacle of this type of technology. It utilizes a semi-spherical virtual reality simulator of diagnostic and day to day visual environments. It allows not only for diagnosis but is also used for therapy. We are able to place our patients in challenging visual and movement environments and teach them to improve their balance.
As with most new and innovative healthcare technology, insurance companies are slow to adopt it as a covered service. Currently, it is reimbursed by Medicare and Blue Cross Blue Shield. Other insurances may offer partial or no reimbursement.
We find this technology to be absolutely critical in our entire Balance diagnosis and treatment paradigm. We continue to see great improvements in the lives of our patients who benefit from this technology.
Jason Boole, MD
Northwest Florida Ear, Nose and Throat serves patients from Panama City, Destin, Fort Walton Beach, Shalimar, Niceville, Defuniak, Crestview, Navarre, Gulfbreeze, Pensacola, Jay, Holt, Cantonment, FL and even Brewton, AL.