My So Called Dizzy Life

My Chronicles of Vertigo, Nystagmus, Imbalance & Dizziness

Vestibular Rehabiliation Therapy Weeks 4 & 5

on July 31, 2012

July 17th was the beginning of my fourth week of my Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy.

My physical therapist and I discussed how the exercises went in week three, and he altered a lot of my exercises from the previous week.  The exercises got a little more challenging.  A lot of the exercises were the same, but instead of performing all of them indoors on even surfaces, I was doing some of them in our backyard.   Yup, I was practicing balance exercises on the lawn.  Walking on bumpy, uneven surfaces like the lawn is difficult because even though I can feel the lawn beneath my feet (information provided by proprioception) and I can see the lawn, without the input of my right vestibular system, the signals that normally tell my body to maintain balance are out of wack.

In my fourth & fifth weeks, I continued to keep a journal of all my vestibular rehabilitation therapy exercises.  I recorded if I encountered any exercises that were too easy or too hard and I recorded every time I performed the exercises.

A couple of days into my fifth week of therapy, I encountered a setback.  Probably due to changes in medication, I was back sailing the seas of dizziness.  With the constant feeling of motion-sickness, the dizziness and the nausea, I became too sick to even complete my therapy exercises.  I know that in week 6 my exercises will change due to my setback.

Exercise 1: Continue the CAT exercise from week three; However, instead of sitting in a chair, I am going to progress to standing.  I will hold the card with the word CAT written on it out in front of me. I turn my head from side to side, while keeping my eyes on the word CAT. I will continue for a duration of 30 seconds.  If CAT card becomes blurry, or I lose focus, or I get too dizzy because I am turning my head too fast or turning it too far to the left or right, I should slow down and not turn my head as far. I do this exercise and then stop & rest to let the dizziness settle. I repeat this 5 times.  I noted in my journal that this exercise was a little dizzying and that I did have to slow the speed down.

Exercise 2: Continue the CAT exercise from week three; However, instead of sitting in a chair, I am going to progress to standing.  Keeping my head still, I will move the card with the word CAT written on it diagonally and then follow it with my eyes. I will continue for a duration of 30 seconds.  If I have trouble tracking the card, I am to slow the speed down. I do this and then stop & rest to let the dizziness settle. I repeat this 5 times.  I noted in my journal that this exercise was a little dizzying and that I did have to slow the speed down.

Exercise 3:  Perform the following exercise standing in the corner of a room (but not touching the walls). Stand with one foot forward, bring my front foot closer to midline, keep my arms at my sides, close my eyes, and hold my balance for 10 seconds.  I repeat this exercises about 5 times and then stop & rest to let the dizziness settle.  I noted in my journal that I got progressively better at this exercise.  I would get wobbly or fall over a few times, but I still noticed an improvement.

Exercise 4Perform the following exercises outside on the grass.  Stand with one foot forward, bring my front foot closer to midline, keep my arms at my sides, and hold my balance for 10 seconds.  My next progression is to stand with one foot forward, close my eyes and hold my balance for 10 seconds.  I can vary the position of my front foot when my eyes are closed so that this exercise is challenging but not too easy.  I repeat these exercises about 5 times and then stop & rest to let the dizziness settle.  I noted in my journal that I did OK performing this exercise with my eyes open, but with my eyes closed I was wobbly and would sometimes fall over.   I would have to hold my arms out to steady myself.   

Exercise 5: I walk down a long hallway and nod my head up & down every couple of steps. Since I tend to be wobbly and stumble during this exercise, I was told to try & focus on something at the end of the hall while performing this exercise. I walk up and down the hallway about 5 times (10 passes total).  I noted in my journal that I did focus on an object at the end of the hall.  I started out pretty wobbly and a bit dizzy, but I got progressively better. 

Exercise 6: Several times a day while sitting, I turn my head from side to side 3 times, but add speed to my head turns.  Stop & rest to let any dizziness settle. I repeat this exercise 5 times.  I noted in my journal that this exercise made me feel dizzy and nauseous.

Exercise 7: Several times a day while standing, I turn my head from side to side 5 times. Stop & rest to let any dizziness settle. I repeat this exercise 5 times.  I noted in my journal that this exercise made me feel dizzy.

Exercise 8: Perform the following exercise outside on the grass.  Standing with feet apart, I turn my head from side to side 5 times. Stop & rest to let any dizziness settle. I repeat this exercise 5 times.  I noted in my journal that this exercise made me feel dizzy.

Exercise 9: Perform the following exercise outside on the grass. Standing with feet apart, nod head up and down 5 times. Stop & rest to let any dizziness settle. I repeat this exercise 5 times.  I noted in my journal that this exercise made me feel dizzy.

Exercise 10: Side-Stepping Exercise. Find a wall. Walk to the right, parallel to the wall, with my eyes closed. Walk evenly, leading with the same foot. Make sure each foot lifts off the floor. I do 4 steps to the right and then 4 steps back to the left. I was to start with dragging my fingers along the wall for stability and then progress to not touching the wall. I repeat this exercise 10 times.  I noted in my journal that I did drag my fingers along the wall for stability; I never progressed to not touching the wall. This exercise made me feel very dizzy in the beginning and then progressed to just plain ‘ole dizzy.  I also felt a little unsteady.

Exercise 11: Side-Stepping Exercise. Find a wall. Walk to the right, parallel to the wall, with my eyes open. Walk evenly, leading with the same foot. Make sure each foot lifts off the floor. As I walk, turn my head from side to side. I do 4 steps to the right and then 4 steps back to the left. I can start by  dragging my fingers along the wall for stability and then progress to not touching the wall. I repeat this exercise 10 times.  I noted in my journal that I did drag my fingers along the wall for stability; I never progressed to not touching the wall. This exercise made me feel dizzy and like I had no coordination.

Exercise 12: Forward Progression With 180 degree (Half) Turns Exercise. In a hallway, walk down to the end of the hall making a slow half turn in place, leading with head and eyes, towards the right. Only touch the wall if needed for stability. Progress to not touching the wall. I repeat this exercise 10 times (20 half-turns).  I noted in my journal that I did not need to touch the wall for this exercise, but I did get a bit dizzy.

Exercise 13Perform the following exercises outside on the grass.  Practice walking and nodding my head up & down every couple of steps.  I walk up and down the yard about 5 times (10 passes total; each pass is about 50 feet).   I noted in my journal that this exercise made me feel dizzy and exhausted.  I also was a bit wobbly.

Exercise 14: Perform the following exercises outside on the grass.  Practice walking and turning my head from side to side every couple of steps. Since I tend to be wobbly and stumble during this exercise, I was told to try & focus on something at the end of the yard while performing this exercise. I walk up and down the yard about 5 times (10 passes total; each pass is about 50 feet).   I noted in my journal that this exercise made me feel dizzy and exhausted.  I also was a bit wobbly.

Exercise 15:  Go for a walk, go anywhere, with Erik and without my walker.  Start off by holding on to Erik’s arm and progress to trying not to hold on to Erik and to walk by myself in public.  I noted in my journal that my first trip out without my walker made my head hurt, I was very dizzy, and I had to hold onto Erik’s arm.  Eventually I progressed to not holding onto Erik’s arm, although I have a tendency to hold my arms out for balance while I walk.   A huge step (pun intended) in the right direction!

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2 responses to “Vestibular Rehabiliation Therapy Weeks 4 & 5

  1. Walter Garrison says:

    i am looking at this for my wife. she has ms/ vertigo….using diazapam to help,but it does not seem to be doing much.i hope i can get her to do these.peace be with you and your husband.wg

    • Emily says:

      Hi Walter,
      Sorry for the delay in responding. I hope your wife is feeling a bit better. If she hasn’t already, I would encourage her to make an appointment with a physical therapist who is familiar with vestibular issues. With regard to Vestibular Physical Therapy, I would say that one size doesn’t fit all. The therapy should be customized to the individual.
      Wishing your wife dizzy-free days,
      Emily

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