The main aim of rehabilitation is to improve balance, reduce the risk of falls and enhance patient quality of life. This is achieved through compensation training, involving the adaptation, substitution and desensitization of the vestibular system.
- Adaptation – Patient learns to ignore, or repair the incorrect information and adapt to the new level of function. For example, if you turn your head quickly, you may get dizzy, or feel unsteady. This is because an error message was sent to the brain. To learn to adapt to this, that action is performed at the speed which brings on those symptoms. This is performed until the symptoms no longer occur. The system has now adapted for this motion.
- Substitution – This involves relying on a stronger system providing more accurate information. For example, if you were walking in the dark, your visual system is providing limited information. For this reason, you may rely more on sensory information from your feet to keep your balance.
- Desensitization – This is used when it is necessary to tolerate an abnormal response. This is often used to improve tolerance for motion by inducing symptoms in a controlled manner. Additionally, desensitization training is often required in patients with high anxiety levels.
Through this training, your static and dynamic balance will improve, dizziness symptoms reduced, or abolished, and daily activities resumed. Furthermore, motor planing and spatial awareness should also be improved, along with coordination and multi-tasking.