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Vertigo Relief: How Vestibular Rehabilitation Offers a Path to Relief from Vertigo, Dizziness, and Imbalance.

Learn how Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy can help you resolve your symptoms, improve your balance, and improve your quality of life.


Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is a specialized form of therapy aimed at treating symptoms caused by vestibular disorders including vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance. By targeting the vestibular system, VRT can effectively alleviate these symptoms, helping you regain your quality of life and functional independence. 

What is the Vestibular System? 

The vestibular system is a small organ within your inner ear that plays a crucial role in maintaining your balance and equilibrium. The vestibular system connects to the brain to provide information regarding motion and head position in order for the brain to coordinate an appropriate response to maintain balance. 

When there is dysfunction within the vestibular system, this can result in abnormal input to the brain. These abnormal signals may ultimately contribute to vertigo, dizziness, poor balance, and difficulty with mobility and daily activities. These symptoms may be triggered by specific head movements, changes in position, or visual stimuli. 

What is Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)?

Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is a targeted approach to relieve symptoms caused by disorders of the vestibular system, like vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance. This personalized therapy includes exercises tailored to each individual’s condition. The core elements of VRT are:

  1. Customized Exercise Program: Designed to address specific symptoms and challenges, enhancing balance and reducing dizziness.

  2. Specific Head Maneuvers: Techniques such as the Epley maneuver or Semont maneuver for BPPV, helping reposition inner ear crystals.

  3. Balance Training: Exercises to improve stability and reduce the risk of falls.

  4. Lifestyle Modifications: Guidance on daily activities and environmental adjustments to manage symptoms effectively.

There are 3 types of exercises that can be prescribed. These include:

Gaze stabilization exercises

These are utilized in order to improve the coordination between head and eye movements in order to reduce blurred vision with head movement. These are beneficial for those who have difficulty maintaining their gaze on objects while moving or turning their head. 

Habituation exercises

Habituation exercises are prescribed to those who experience symptoms with particular movements or activities such as rolling in bed, sitting up, standing from a chair, or bending down to pick something up off of the floor. The goal of these exercises are to gradually reduce symptoms through repeated exposure to the movements that induce symptoms to desensitize the vestibular system and reduce symptoms. 

Balance exercises 

Balance exercises are prescribed to improve balance and equilibrium with movement and daily tasks. Exercises may include various head and eye movements, activities standing on different surfaces, walking while turning your head, and many others. The exercises are prescribed to improve the particular activities you are having difficulty with. 

Canalith Repositioning Maneuvers may also be utilized. These are used for those with Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). They involve specific head and body movements to reposition crystals in the inner ear, reducing dizziness and vertigo.

What Conditions Can Benefit From Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy can benefit a wide range of conditions associated with vestibular dysfunction. These conditions include but are not limited to:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

  • Vestibular neuritis/labyrinthitis, 

  • Unilateral vestibular hypofunction (UVH)

  • Acoustic neuroma 

  • Vestibular migraine

  • Persistent Postural Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD)

  • Mal de Debarquement (MdDS)

  • Cervicogenic Dizziness

  • Post-concussion syndrome (PCS)

If you have not been diagnosed with a vestibular disorder, vestibular rehabilitation can also help those who: 

  • Experience vertigo (room spinning) 

  • Have dizziness that increases with head movements

  • Feel like their head is “floating” 

  • Feel unsteady with walking

  • Notice imbalance in the dark or on uneven surfaces

  • Have blurred vision with head movement 

  • Experience dizziness or nausea in a stimulating environment

  • Frequently fall 

How does a Vestibular Physical Therapy Evaluation Work?

A vestibular physical therapy evaluation is a comprehensive assessment conducted by a qualified therapist that includes an assessment of the vestibular system. This helps the therapist determine what is contributing to your symptoms and how it is impacting your balance and mobility. The therapist may assess:

  • Eye and head movements

  • Balance in standing and while walking

  • Gait mechanics

  • Head/neck flexibility

  • Muscle tightness

  • Coordination

Based on the results of evaluation, an individualized treatment is developed. This will initially include patient education to ensure you have a good understanding of what is contributing to your symptoms and what to expect with therapy. A home exercise program is usually prescribed after the assessment with recommendations for a treatment plan.

Does Vestibular Rehabilitation Help for BPPV?

Yes! VRT is especially effective for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV). This condition causes brief, intense spells of dizziness, often triggered by specific head movements. These head movements can cause the “crystals” within your inner ear to be displaced, resulting in vertigo (room spinning). Treatment involves specific head maneuvers that help to move the crystals back in place, ultimately alleviating symptoms of vertigo and dizziness. 

Will VRT help my balance?

Yes, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) can significantly improve balance in individuals with vestibular dysfunction. These individuals often feel unsteady with head and eye movements, walking, navigating a dark environment, and standing on unstable surfaces. Balance exercises train the brain to better process balance information from the vestibular system and other senses, leading to improved balance and reduced risk of falls. 

How long does it take to see results from VRT?

The duration of vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) and the time to see results can vary depending on various factors, such as the specific vestibular condition, its severity, and individual progress. 

Those with BPPV may only need 1-3 sessions to experience complete relief. However, others may require several weeks of consistent therapy to achieve significant results. Adherence to the prescribed exercises and consistency in performing them are essential for optimal outcomes. Your therapist will monitor your progress regularly and make necessary adjustments to your treatment plan as needed to ensure you are on track toward achieving your goals.


Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) offers a comprehensive approach to address vertigo, dizziness, and imbalance caused by vestibular dysfunction. With a personalized treatment plan from a vestibular physical therapist, you can alleviate your symptoms, get back to the activities you enjoy, and improve your quality of life. 

Vestibular Rehabilitation in Northern Kentucky: 

We offer in-home vestibular rehabilitation therapy to those in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati region. We understand that it is often challenging to drive to a clinic while suffering from dizziness or vertigo. This is why we offer in-home and virtual vestibular rehabilitation.

Learn more about our vestibular therapy program by clicking here.

Call/Text us today for your free phone consultation to determine if vestibular rehabilitation is right for you or a loved one. No referral is required.

Call/Text: 859-592-014

About the Author:

Dr. Ben Fannin, PT, DPT

Hi, my name is Ben Fannin, PT, DPT and I wrote this article.

I am a licensed physical therapist with extensive training and experience serving those with vestibular disorders.

I'm on a mission to improve access to care for older adults with my in-home physical therapy practice focused on fall prevention, neurological rehab, and vestibular rehabilitation.

You can learn more about myself and my practice by clicking here.  

Kentucky Physical Therapy License Number: PT007802 

Ohio Physical Therapy License Number: PT017494 

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