Submitted by Bianca Coetzee
Information from the vestibular system, eyes and proprioceptors in joints are used to balance and orientate yourself to space. A problem in one of these systems can cause a decrease in balance and dizziness.
- Vestibular neuritis (a sudden onset of vertigo, nausea, vomiting, veering to one side with no hearing loss)
- Meniere’s Disease (intermittent episodes of vertigo, hearing loss, ringing and fullness of the ears)
- Migraine (can cause vertigo, decreased balance and motion sensitivity)
- Cardiovascular accidents
- Perilymph fistula (caused by trauma, surgery or other inner ear disease)
- Acoustic neuroma (progressive hearing loss and ringing in the ears with dizziness)
- Psychological problems like panic disorders
Vestibular rehabilitation works best for vestibular neuritis and the elderly with dizziness and decreased balance. This is due to the crystals that are loosened in the canals of the ears which can produce episodes of dizziness and possibly falls.
Treatments are quick and simple. It consists of a number of body and head movements which will make corrections to the vestibular organs, decrease dizziness and improve balance. Multiple treatments are usually not necessary as the success rate is between 70 – 90%. Re-occurrence is a possibility especially in the elderly. Balance exercises also need to accompany treatment to correct any compensation strategies learned during the dizzy spells.