By Vestibular Physiotherapist Vanessa Simpson
Your ability to tolerate movement is reliant on information from your vestibular system (inner ear) and eyes matching up to tell your brain what is happening.
Following a brainstem stroke or head injury, the integration and processing of sensory information from the vestibular, visual and somatosensory systems may be significantly affected. As a result many people experience problems with the messages going to or from these systems and the brain. This can cause an increase in motion sensitivity, dizziness, nausea, visual problems and imbalance. Central vestibular dysfunction does take longer to improve however it will get better with time if given the right advice and exercises.
Patients with central vestibular dysfunction will generally show significant improvements in symptoms of dizziness and imbalance following vestibular rehabilitation. For many people who feel dizzy, the natural response is to avoid any movement that amplifies this. However, to gain improvements the system must be challenged. Through repeated exposure to an unpleasant signal, symptoms will gradually reduce through central pre-programming pathways. We call this habituation. This is strongly supported by research. A vestibular physiotherapist will be able to assist you in assessing your symptoms and design an individualised rehabilitation programme to reduce your symptoms and improve your balance and postural control.
If you have had a stroke or brain injury and are experiencing dizzyness, get in touch with us.