The vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance and eye movements.  Symptoms of a vestibular disorder can include:

  • dizziness

  • vertigo (spinning)

  • imbalance

  • nausea

  • hearing loss

  • hearing changes

  • visual disturbances

These feelings or sensations can occur when you are standing still, lying down or changing positions. The symptoms can be constant or episodic in nature, lasting seconds, minutes or hours.  Patients typically referred for vestibular rehabilitation will have a diagnosis of: dizziness, imbalance, vertigo, Meniere’s syndrome, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, cervicogenic dizziness (neck-related dizziness) or migraines.

Vestibular rehabilitation is an exercise-based program, designed to improve balance and reduce problems related to dizziness.  At the initial evaluation a physical therapist will review symptoms and past medical history. The assessment will include all or some of the following: leg strength, balance, flexibility, gait observation (how you walk), visual stability and mobility, neck mobility, neck strength, arm strength, and/or positional testing to assess inner ear function.

Based on the findings from the initial evaluation a plan of care is developed. The goal of treatment is to improve your ability to function in activities of everyday living, reduce your risk for falling and ultimately, improve your quality of life.


Ryan Sewell PT, DPT