You have a problem with your balance or equilibrium. Do not be afraid of your dizziness. Only you can build up the tolerance in your brain to overcome your dizziness. It is like an exercise for muscle building. It requires regular, capacity-extending work to build up strength or tolerance. Keep provoking your dizziness many times each day, realizing that each purposeful, controlled episode of dizziness brings you closer to your last one. Once you have gained a measure of improvement and control in your practice sessions, seek out sports or other movement activities that have been difficult and spend increasing lengths of time on them until they no longer produce any symptoms.
How do vestibular exercises work?
The purpose of these exercises is to improve one’s central or brain’s compensation for injuries or abnormalities within the vestibular or balance system. The brain interprets information gained from the vestibular or balance system. When there is an injury or abnormality in any portion of this system, the brain must be retrained or taught to interpret correctly the information it receives. Vestibular exercises merely stimulate the vestibular apparatus. This stimulation produces information to be processed by the brain. The goal in repeating these exercises is for the brain to learn to tolerate and accurately interpret this type of stimulation. By doing these exercises repetitively, one can even teach the brain to adapt to an abnormal stimulus. These exercises work in much the same way as the exercises skaters or dancers do to keep from becoming dizzy when they spin around rapidly. Stated simply, one must seek out and overcome those positions or situations which cause dizziness. Avoiding them will only prolong one’s convalescence.
Aims of exercises:
When you begin:
During the first few times the exercise is performed, you should have another person present in case the dizziness becomes very severe.
When should you stop doing the exercise?
These exercises should be done at least three times a day for a minimum of 6 to 12 weeks or until the dizziness goes away altogether. Stopping before complete resolution of dizziness often results in a relapse in symptoms. The point at which one stops the exercises is when one has no dizziness for two consecutive weeks. The exercise may be stopped and restarted again at any time if dizziness returns.
The following exercises should be performed twice daily. The exercises are designed to challenge your balance system and often cause symptoms of dizziness. This is a normal response to these stimulating exercises. You should try to work through these symptoms if possible. If you feel you cannot, have your nurse contact an inpatient physical therapist for assistance.
As the dizziness improves:
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