The vestibular system includes parts of the inner ear and brain that process information involved with controlling of balance and eye movements. Problems with these processing areas can result in vestibular disorders, which include Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis, and Meniere’s disease amongst other conditions.
These disorders can be accurately diagnosed following an in-depth consultation with a specialised ENT consultant at Spire Little Aston Hospital, who will carry out specific tests and investigations.
Symptoms of vestibular balance disorders
- Balance problems are very common, with approximately 40% of the population over 40 and 60% of those over 60 experiencing some problems. BPPV is the most common vestibular disorder and accounts for approximately 50% of dizziness in older people
- Vertigo and dizziness, which can be a sensation of whirling or spinning, or light-headedness
- A loss of balance, stumbling, or a difficulty walking straight, or turning, or frequent falls in one direction
- Difficulties in tracking objects with the eyes, and discomfort in busy visual environments, such as crowds or moving traffic
- Sensitivity to certain types of computer/ digital TV screens, and scrolling screens
- Hearing changes, either a loss of hearing, tinnitus or an increased sensitivity to loud noises
- Sometimes neck pain is associated with dizziness, termed cervicogenic dizziness
Such symptoms can cause anxiety and a loss of self-confidence and self-reliance, and make routine everyday activities difficult. Some people will be unable to drive or do their normal job.
Treatment for vestibular balance disorders
A graduated balance rehabilitation programme can reduce the sensation of dizziness and assist in the recovery to normal daily function.
Treatment can include Epley Manoeuvre, which involves positioning the body quickly from an upright sitting position to a lying position, with the head rotated. This relocates free floating particles within the semi-circular canals of the ear.
Gaze Stabilisation and/or Cooksey Cawthorne exercises. These exercises are designed to encourage eye and head movement which provoke symptoms of dizziness in a graduated way. This stimulates the inner ear and encourages the brain to compensate. Gradually as the brain adapts to process the different signals, the same exercise will not provoke symptoms, called vestibular compensation.
Balance and core stability exercises may be included to improve postural stability.
Book an appointment or find out more
If you are paying for treatment yourself, no referral is necessary and you can contact us directly to book an appointment. If you are paying through medical insurance, you will need a referral letter from your GP or consultant before you make an appointment.
To find out more about vestibular balance disorders or to book an appointment, please call 0121 580 7131 or email Birmingham@spireperform.com.