Why Vestibular Rehabilitation Plays an Important Role in Your Post Concussion Exercise Program
40-60% of patients that suffer head trauma experience dizziness and a lack of balance. In some cases, these symptoms continue to last for 2 years after the initial injury. This dizziness and lack of balance are due to vestibular issues generated by a concussion.
A concussion is a serious brain injury. As such, seeking out proper care with a physician and physical therapist specializing in vestibular rehabilitation treatment is essential to ensuring you make a full recovery.
If your vestibular system is impacted, normal functioning and activities may prove difficult. Consequently, you may experience a rapid decline in your quality of life.
However, vestibular therapy offers a solution to vestibular issues that may arise due to a concussion injury.
But First, What is the Vestibular System and Its Relation to a Concussion?
When you suffer a blow or other trauma to the head, the inner ear is frequently impacted. The workings of the inner ear are part of your vestibular system. This system helps maintain balance and stability, and also helps you gauge where you are in space and in relation to gravity. Combined with your vision and proprioception (touch), the vestibular system allows you to maintain your balance and remain upright.
Essentially, the vestibular system uses sensory input from fluid and receptors to help you stand, walk, and sit. When it’s affected by injury, you may feel dizzy, nauseous, and have difficulty concentrating. As a result, you may have problems performing your daily activities. Vestibular physical therapy exercises for concussion rehabilitation can help you get back on your feet.
What Does Vestibular Rehabilitation Treatment for Concussions Involve?
Vestibular therapy is an essential and necessary piece in a concussion exercise protocol. It involves a variety of exercises to help reduce symptoms and improve balance. The following outlines the general protocol involving vestibular therapy for concussion cases:
Step 1: Assessment Before Balance Therapy
Vestibular rehabilitation starts with a careful examination and assessment of your symptoms. Your physical therapist may analyze and observe your gait, balance, strength, and more.
To do so, they may have you perform a variety of tests. These tests will serve as your baseline measurements throughout your post-concussion exercise program. Any improvements throughout your vestibular treatment program will be measured against them.
Step 2: Vestibular Rehabilitation Treatment Plan
Your physical therapist will then create a vestibular treatment plan specific to you and your situation. The goal is to improve your function and overall quality of life.
Step 3: Implementation of Vestibular Physical Therapy Exercises for a Concussion
A post-concussion exercise program involving vestibular therapy can include an array of balance exercises and head movements. These exercises and movements are retraining your vestibular system. They may also be combined with specific manual techniques to help manage your symptoms.
Depending on the severity of your concussion, the length of vestibular rehabilitation can vary. For more mild cases, recovery may take less time. But for more severe cases, it could potentially mean years of vestibular and balance therapy.
Frequently, vestibular therapy for concussions will begin with basic balance exercises. Your boundaries will continually be pushed as to how much you can tolerate. How much you can tolerate may even vary from day-to-day. However, overall, you should see a steady and gradual improvement in your symptoms.
Vestibular Therapy Can Help You Make a Full Recovery Post-Concussion
Most concussions involve vestibular issues and symptoms. Post-concussion, it’s very likely you’ll undergo vestibular treatment along with other medical intervention and care.
If you’re struggling to find a physical therapist that specializes in vestibular rehabilitation in your area, the BetterPT website or mobile app can help you. Simply search for the type of therapist you need and connect with a vestibular physical therapist near you today. Let a vestibular therapy post-concussion exercise program help you get back to your life and the activities you know and love.