What is the vestibular system and how does it relate to vertigo?
The vestibular system is one of three major systems that we use for balance. It is in the inner ear and provides information to the brain regarding head movement and position. Problems with the vestibular system can cause vertigo, dizziness, a feeling of unsteadiness/imbalance, and blurry vision with movement.
A proper assessment is a crucial part of trying to determine someone’s cause for vertigo as there are many reasons for it to occur. The most common cause of vertigo is BPPV and this is caused by small calcium crystals in your inner ear becoming displaced, which causes dizziness during head movements.This type of vertigo is typically treated very successfully and can resolve with 1-3 treatments. Other causes of vertigo may be due to damage of the vestibular system and may take longer to treat. If the vestibular system becomes damaged, the rehabilitation process focusses on compensation mechanisms for those deficits. Patients can often regain a lot of function with rehabilitation. Concussion management has also been shown to be more successful when vestibular rehabilitation is incorporated into the process and results in faster recovery.
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