Are you experiencing periods of dizziness caused by quick head movements or changes in position, such as getting out of, or rolling over in bed, or reaching for an object on a high shelf? Do you feel unsteady while walking in poorly lit areas? Have you noticed difficulty reading or focusing on television or computer screens?

The Vestibular Rehabilitation and Balance Program at St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center’s Outpatient Health Center can help eliminate or significantly reduce dizziness and instability. They have physical therapists with specialized training in the evaluation and treatment of vestibular (inner ear) disorders.

Patients with vestibular disorders often see more than three healthcare providers before they find someone who can help eliminate their symptoms. At St. Lawrence a physical therapist with advanced training in vestibular rehabilitation conducts an evaluation in order to gain information about the function of the inner ear and the musculoskeletal system. Based on these results, and on the specific goals of the patient, an individualized exercise program is designed to decrease dizziness, improve balance, and reduce visual symptoms. Depending on the nature and severity of the symptoms, one to two treatment sessions or up to a few weeks of treatment may be necessary to alleviate symptoms.

Treatment may include the Epley Maneuver to treat BPPV (benign paroxysmal positional vertigo), the most common cause of dizziness. With BPPV, these particles, called otoconia, dislodge and cause the illusion of spinning when you move in certain positions. The trained therapist gently brings your head through a series of small movements in order to reposition free-floating particles in the ear canal. Treatment may also include various exercises to improve your balance, habituation exercises to decrease motion sensitivity and dizziness, and gaze stabilization exercises to reduce visual symptoms.

The first step is to speak with your doctor about your dizziness or balance problems, and request a prescription for physical therapy. Then call 609-896-2515 to schedule an appointment at St. Lawrence’s Outpatient Health Center. If you have questions about the vestibular and balance program, contact the program director at 609-896-9500 ext. 2383. For more information, visit their website at www.slrc.org and click on the outpatient link at the bottom of the page.

A few sessions may give you a better understanding of your problem and greatly improve your quality of life. You don’t have to live with dizziness!

St. Lawrence Rehabilitation Center, Outpatient Health Center, 2381 Lawrenceville Road, Lawrenceville. 609-896-2515 or www.slrc.org.

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