Saturday, March 7, 2009

What is Vestibular Rehab?

Does your soldier with TBI suffer from dizziness? This is quite normal, and last week we found out by a series of tests that my husbands vestibular system has been thrown off because of his TBI. This explains him running into things sometimes, and becoming very dizzy. He started vestibular rehab today, it was not a pretty site.... but, the nurse did have a cold cloth and bucket next to him... just incase.

Those with vestibular problems who participate in rehab can vomiting.

When my husbands ear drums ruptured during one of the blasts he was in, I am sure this is when his vestibular system was thrown off.

Vestibular (inner ear) disorders can cause dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, hearing changes, nausea, fatigue, anxiety, difficulty concentrating, and other symptoms, with potentially devastating effects on a person's day-to-day functioning, ability to work, relationships with family and friends, and quality of life.

Diagnosing and treating vestibular disorders is not always straightforward. In addition, such disorders are often "invisible," making it difficult for others to understand how disabling they can be.

Doctors use the medical history and findings from a physical examination as a basis for ordering diagnostic tests to assess the function of the vestibular system and to rule out alternative causes of symptoms. These diagnostic tests are designed to evaluate the function and structure of the inner ear and/or brain, and they include hearing evaluations because the hearing and balance functions of the inner ear are closely related.

Tests of vestibular (balance) function include:

Vestibular rehabilitation can offer relief of symptoms for persons suffering from an inner ear disorder. Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise program designed by specially trained therapists to help people compensate for a loss or imbalance within the vestibular system.

The program may include balance activities and/or eye or head movement exercises. The balance activities help people maximize the use of the remaining vestibular function, their sight, and the sensation in their feet to keep their balance. When there is an imbalance in the vestibular system, a person may also experience dizziness because the reflexes that help with eye movement have been changed. The eye exercises help the brain relearn these reflexes. Because each patient's symptoms and needs are different, it is very important to design a program to meet individual needs.

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