My So Called Dizzy Life

My Chronicles of Vertigo, Nystagmus, Imbalance & Dizziness

Vestibular Rehabiliation Therapy Week 1

on July 11, 2012

There is no magical pill that I can take to cure my Vestibular Neuritis and my non-functioning right vestibular system.  There’s not even a non-magical pill.  What I can do is help train my brain to compensate for my loss (or retrain my brain) through my Vestibular physical therapy, a.k.a. Vestibular rehabilitation therapy.  My goal is to retrain my brain to help me balance, improve my stability, and improve the focus of my eyes.  I need to train my brain to work with only my left vestibular system.  I need my brain to adapt.

On my first visit with my physical therapist, he evaluated me.  He assessed my balance, my eye coordination, and tried to gauge the level of my dizziness.  We discussed that my husband had been getting me out somewhere everyday.  Anywhere.   Being cooped up gets old.  He said that was great and that staying active would help me further compensate.  He came up with a series of exercises that I practiced with him.  My vestibular rehabilitation therapy is individualized for me and includes head, body, and eye exercises to retrain my brain.  It includes exercises that cause dizziness;  I believe the goal is to desensitize me to the actions (like turning my head) that cause my dizziness.

Exercise 1: I was given a card (it was actually my physical therapist’s business card) and on the back of it, he had written the word “CAT.”  I then sit in a chair and hold the CAT card out in front of me.  Then I turn my head slowly from side to side, while keeping my eyes on the word CAT.  I do this for 5-10 seconds and then stop & rest to let the dizziness settle.  I repeat this 5 times.

Exercise 2:  While sitting in a chair, and keeping my head still, I move the CAT card up & down and diagonally and follow it with my eyes.  I do this for 5-10 seconds and then stop & rest to let the dizziness settle.  I repeat this 5 times.

Exercise 3: Standing in the corner of a room (I think so that if I fall back, I don’t crash to the floor) I stand with my feet a few inches apart.  I close my eyes and try to hold my balance for about 20 seconds.  I stop & rest to let the dizziness settle.  I repeat this 5 times.

Exercise 4: I walk down a hallway, keeping my eyes focused on an object at the end of the hallway (for me, I focused on the door handle on a closed-door).  I then practice turning my head very slightly to each side while keeping focused on the door handle.  I stop & rest to let the dizziness settle.  I repeat this 5 times.

I keep a journal of all my vestibular rehabilitation therapy exercises.  I record if I encounter any that are too easy or too hard.  Because my vestibular neuritis has made me forgetful, I need to write these things down so that I can remember to discuss them with my physical therapist.  I also record every time I do the exercises.  Accountability.  I want to make sure that I do my exercises.  I want to feel normal again.

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