Vestibular Rehabilitation

If you are experiencing dizziness, nausea, imbalance, or even vertigo, Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy may be right for you.

What is the Vestibular System?

Structures within the inner ear and certain centers of the brain form the vestibular system which provides us with the sense of postural awareness and balance. The vestibular system also contributes to the coordination and stabilization of eye movements for various types and speeds of head motion.

What To Expect

The initial assessment will consist of a detailed verbal history of your vestibular issues and general health. The Therapist asks a series of directed questions to develop a general idea of the vestibular disturbance being presented. This initial assessment takes approximately 1 hour to complete.


Following History, the Therapist Will:
  • Conduct a variety of specialized physical tests involving a combination of upper body and/or head movements and eye tracking drills.
  • Narrow down the type of vestibular disturbance and what specific structures may be involved.
  • Formulate an individualized treatment plan.


Depending on your symptoms, medical history, results from diagnostic tests and the physical examination, the Therapist or Physician may recommend treatment.

Common Signs and Symptoms of Vestibular Disorders


**If dizziness is your main symptom, you should have a medical assessment completed by your family Physician prior to starting Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy.**

  • Nystagmus – involuntary movements of the eyes
  • Visual disturbances
  • Vertigo – perception of yourself or room spinning
  • ** Dizziness – Lightheadedness, faint-like sensation
  • Imbalance or unsteadiness
  • Gaze Instability – Coordinating eye and head movements


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In the event of vertigo, a repositioning technique will be performed. This includes specific head and trunk movements guided by the Therapist.

An Individualized Home Program may also be developed. It can include a combination of body, eye and head exercises in order to retrain your brain to recognize and interpret various sensory inputs. By performing these exercises, your brain learns and adapts to these once provoking stimuli.

Referral back to your Physician may follow to rule out any other causes if treatment is unsuccessful.

Vestibular Disorder being treated

Common Causes of Vestibular Disorders

  • A mechanical dysfunction of the inner ear leading to vertigo (BPPV)
  • Head Trauma (whiplash)
  • Viral infections of the inner ear
  • Degeneration of the vestibular system, typically elderly population
  • Vascular insufficiency


Common Interventions


  • Resolving issues relating to vertigo
  • Retraining gaze stability following an episode/condition involving an unilateral or bilateral vestibular hypofunction
  • Balance training (dynamic/postural stability) especially a client who is a fall risk
  • Investigating other contributing mechanisms of vestibular disturbance; psychogenic dizziness or vertigo from anxiety or depression; cervicogenic (muscle/joint) contribution, migraine associated dizziness


Things You Should Know

During or after the assessment and/or treatment, it is very likely that signs and symptoms of dizziness, vertigo, or nausea will be provoked.

Thus, we recommend alternative transportation arrangements be made prior to appointments and you should consider taking adequate measures in reducing any chance of nausea or vomiting sensation. 

Consultation with your family Physician is advised to choose an appropriate anti nausea medication, if vomiting is a concern for you.

Older adults are recommended to bring any assisted walking devices, such as a cane, if you have one.