Physical Therapy for Dizziness and Imbalance
Chicago Dizziness and Hearing offers conventional vestibular rehabilitation as well as several treatment techniques that are unique in Chicago. It is crucial to note that unlike most "chain" type physical therapy providers, Chicago Dizziness and Hearing is fully equipped to visualize eye movements during treatment. Also important -- physical therapy at Chicago Dizziness and Hearing has physician backup at all times. This adds an element of safety as well as allows for much quicker changes in treatment direction when things are not going well.
We provide treatments
for BPPV as well as other types of dizziness amenable to rehabilitation, such as unilateral and bilateral
vestibular loss. We also provide some unusual types of physical therapy including treatment for several variants of
Natasha Thakkar, DPT. Natasha sees patients two days/week (presently wednesdays and fridays). When patients urgently need BPPV treatment outside of these days, we have one of our physicians or audiology staff treat them.
BPPV -- we are fully equipped and have physician backup.
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- CDH physical therapists can treat all variants of BPPV including posterior canal, lateral canal, anterior canal, and multicanal. We understand the difference between canalithiasis and cupulolithisis. We are fully equipped with video frenzel goggles that enable us to determine if treatment has succeeded, and detect complications.
- CDH physical therapists have physician backup for refractory cases, which sometimes turn out to have something other than BPPV.
- Most patients are cured, at least for a few months-years, after 1-2 sessions.
Vestibular rehabilitation of unilateral and bilateral loss.
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- Patients with unilateral vestibular loss may take as long as a year to recover. Our exercises can speed up and improve compensation.
- Patients with bilateral vestibular loss may never return to normal. Our exercises can help them maintain the highest levels of function.
- Chicago Dizziness and hearing has balance testing equipment that can determine whether or not balance goals have been met. This includes a VHIT test capability that can measure the degree of compensation through comparison of "covert' and "overt" saccades.
Motion sickness, visual dependence, drivers disorientation, Mal de Debarquement
- Motion sickness can sometimes be treated using habituation. We use traditional methods as well as adaptations of Dr. Puma's protocol for habituation. These are home exercises, overseen by the PT.
- Visual dependence is a variant of motion sickness where visual motion causes space/motion discomfort. Visual dependence can be treated with visual habituation. We are presently mainly using very "busy" videos, again in a home setting, sometimes using VR goggles to enhance the experience.This treatment is overseen by our visual vertigo specialist.
- Driver disorientation syndrome -- driving can be limited because of anxiety and discomfort provoked by going above certain speeds, getting on or off an expressway, bridges, tunnels, or high contrast driving situations. We treat this at Chicago Dizziness and Hearing by using immersive video games that habituate driving behaviors, and often combine this with medication. This treatment is overseen by our visual vertigo specialist.
- Mal de Debarquement. We presently favor medication combined with visual habituation. We no longer offer clinic based habituation treatment, similar to that offered at Mt. Sinai in New York, as the logistics of this was too difficult. However, we provide patients with tools to habituate themselves using devices at home.
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Other rehabilitation techniques
- Tai Chi -- Dr. Hain was one of the earliest to show that Tai Chi can improve balance. Chicago Dizziness and Hearing provides training DVD's from the original study.
Sometimes patients need to find a physical therapist closer to them.
For BPPV, we recommend using the VEDA (vestibular disorders association)
For neck PT, we recommend using the AAOMPT web site
Additionally, over the years we have had had several other physical therapists work with us. We are proud
to note that several have continued to provide sophisticated vestibular physical therapy services
elsewhere in the Chicago metropolitan area. We know that these people have had a good grounding
in vestibular physical therapy. See our PT Alumni page for more details.