What Is Vestibular Physical Therapy And How Does It Help With Concussions?

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Vestibular physical therapy (VPT) is a type of treatment that helps with concussion symptoms. It can help relieve dizziness, nausea, and other symptoms caused by head trauma. Concussions are common in sports like football, soccer, basketball, rugby, and hockey because these sports involve contact between players. The vestibular system is responsible for balance and spatial orientation so it’s important to keep this system healthy.

All About Vestibular System

    The vestibular system is the part of your body that helps you balance. It controls equilibrium, coordination, and spatial orientation. This can be disrupted by a concussion or other head injury because it has limited capacity to heal itself after an accident. Vestibular physical therapy works with exercises designed specifically for concussions to help patients recover faster from their symptoms so they can rejoin everyday life sooner than traditional treatment options allow them to.

What is assessed during a vestibular evaluation?

    The vestibular system is made up of the parts that comprise our inner ear. We have three semicircular canals in each ear, which are responsible for sensing rotational acceleration and velocity. The utricle and saccule are also involved but they sense linear acceleration, specifically head position relative to gravity, or what we call balance. These structures work together with your brainstem reflexes to keep you upright when you’re moving around during daily life. They help control eye movements as well- if there’s a problem within this complex system then it will affect both vision and equilibrium (or balance).

How does vestibular rehabilitation work?

    Vestibular rehabilitation is a form of physical therapy used to help people who have balance disorders. People who suffer from these conditions may experience dizziness, nausea, and fatigue. These symptoms can make even the most basic tasks difficult or impossible at times. Some common diagnoses that require vestibular rehab include Meniere’s disease, labyrinthitis (inner ear infection), BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), and migraine with aura in adults over age 50 which increases the risk for stroke among other things. Vestibular rehabilitation works by retraining your brain on how to process sensory information during movement through various exercises such as balancing on one leg while closing eyes and turning head away from elevated or spinning in circles with eyes open or closed.

Concussion Definition

    A concussion is a type of traumatic brain injury that can result in temporary loss of normal brain function. Symptoms may include headache, nausea and vomiting, fatigue, blurred vision, or concentration problems. Concussions are often caused by falls, car accidents, and contact sports like football, hockey, and soccer. However, they also occur after violent shaking or lateral movement to the head. A person with concussive symptoms needs immediate medical attention even if that person seems okay after an accident because signs may not show up until hours later -or even days afterward, this delayed presentation is called post-concussion syndrome.

Vestibular Rehabilitation For Concussion Patients

    Vestibular rehabilitation is a treatment for concussion and traumatic brain injury patients to help them adjust, recover and make progress. Vestibular physical therapy can even be used as an alternative or complementary treatment alongside traditional treatments such as medications or surgery. This type of vestibular physical therapy uses exercises that stimulate the inner ear to improve eye movement coordination, balance issues, dizziness, and other symptoms related to traumatic brain injuries. Below are some reasons how vestibular physical therapy can help with concussions:

1. Helps To Adjust The Brain And Its Connection With The Eyes

    Vestibular physical therapy helps to adjust the brain and its connection with the eyes. It helps the brain to become more sensitive and aware of its surroundings. This is a great therapy for those suffering from chronic dizziness or vertigo after a head injury.

2. May Help To Relieve Anxiety And Depression   

    The exercises in vestibular rehabilitation may help to relieve anxiety and depression caused by a concussion or traumatic brain injury.

3. Can Benefit From Sleep Disturbance

    This type of therapy also has benefits for sleep disturbances that might be related to concussions because it reduces dizziness and disorientation during waking hours.    

4. Improved Memory Function

    This is one of the first areas that have seen significant improvement with patients who are experiencing concussion symptoms. This means they’re able to remember things better, multi-task more effectively and be safer drivers because their attention span has increased significantly. The longer these improvements continue the less likely it is for them to develop other issues like depression or anxiety after a head injury since this can also happen when someone struggles to function well in everyday life.

5. Improved Balance

    Balance problems are extremely common following concussions as well, but then once again vestibular therapy helps tremendously. It will not only improve balance but help prevent falls which often occur due to decreased awareness of surroundings, dizziness, vertigo, and loss of coordination caused by both concussions and severe head injuries.

    Vestibular physical therapy is a type of therapy that helps with balance and brain function. If you’ve recently suffered from a concussion, vestibular rehabilitation may be able to help improve your symptoms and quality of life. Keep in mind this treatment will not work for everyone but it is helpful in cases where patients have experienced constant dizziness or vertigo since their injury. If you want more information on how this form of physical therapy works for concussions, call us today.

Are You Looking for Help with Concussion Symptoms?

Pace Physical Therapy in San Jose, California specializes in non-surgical relief and recovery therapies for Sports Injuries.  Concussion therapy is a highly useful tool in supporting recovery from traumatic brain injury. During concussion therapy, you can expect to work with a highly experienced San Jose, CA physical therapist who will evaluate the severity of your brain trauma and match you with tricks and strategies that can reduce discomfort, alleviate painful symptoms, and improve brain functionality. Physical therapy programs for concussions often build in vestibular therapy, which helps you orient yourself during periods of lightheadedness or loss of balance. The staff at Pace Physical Therapy strive every day to provide excellent service for all our patients because we understand it can be frustrating not being able to do what you love most due to an injury keeping us off the field or court! Contact us today to schedule your appointment!