What is vestibular rehabilitation?
When the vestibular organs are damaged by injury or illness, the brain is unable to rely on them for accurate information about equilibrium and motion, often resulting in dizziness, vertigo, balance problems, and many other symptoms. This can impair an individual’s ability to maintain posture and coordinate balance. You may become overly dependent on your vision and specialized nerves in the muscles and joints called proprioceptors. In addition, you may develop new patterns of head and body movement in an attempt to avoid dizziness and nausea. Examples of this include a person with a vestibular disorder that may adopt an exaggerated hip sway as a method of balancing, turning the entire body instead of their head when turning to look at something, or always looking down at the floor to avoid a confusing swirl of activity. Unfortunately, these strategies can lead to worsening symptoms and often cause headache, muscle tension, and fatigue.
What is the goal of our vestibular rehabilitation?
The goal of our vestibular rehabilitation program is to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system in coordination with vision and proprioception. This often involves desensitizing the balance system to movements that provoke symptoms.
We offer a vestibular rehabilitation program using state-of-the-art technology not utilized in any other vestibular rehabilitation facility in the world.
What type of equipment is used in our vestibular rehabilitation program?
AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill
The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill is a medical device approved by the FDA that uses Differential Air Pressure (DAP) technology, originally developed by NASA. This technology has revolutionized rehabilitation and training and is used for:
- Weight reduction
- Aerobic training
- Treatment of neurological conditions
- Rehabilitation of lower extremity injuries
- General training to combat the diseases of aging
The AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill surrounds you with a cushion of air that provides a safe environment to promote stability in a way that could not normally be achieved on a standard treadmill. This cushion of air gently lifts you and reduces your weight by up to 80 percent, which helps to relieve the pain and pressure on the knees, ankles, and lower back. This allows you to perform natural body movements and exercise with full range of motion without the fear of falling.
By integrating visual-vestibular stabilization exercises with the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill you will be able to push your limits in a safe and stabilized environment with an emphasis on correcting any movement patterns that may have degenerated as a result of your vestibular condition. Jogging on this treadmill creates multiple unpredictable quick head movements while having your eyes are focused on a target.
Force Dynamics 301
The Force Dynamics 301 is a cutting-edge driving simulation device that we use to create visual-vestibular rehabilitation exercises that improves the communication between the brain, eyes, and inner ears. By using rapidly changing visual stimulus and creating multiple unpredictable head movements through ultra realistic motion simulation, the Force Dynamics 301 allows us to aggressively train vestibular pathways in a safe and controllable setting.
Using these devices could help to break through the plateau that can be seen with conventional vestibular rehabilitation and speed along the recovery process.
Does my insurance cover this vestibular rehabilitation program?
Due to the unique nature of our vestibular rehabilitation program and the equipment used, we do not take medical insurance. We offer this service as an adjunct to traditional vestibular therapy and to “think outside of the box” in regards to approaching patients with chronic vestibulopathies. The rates are listed below and are due at the time of service.
Click on image to play video of the equipment used in our vestibular rehabilitation and neuromuscular reeducation programs.
Dr. Ian Purcell discusses the AlterG Anti-Gravity Treadmill and Force Dynamics 301 on Empowher video special. Click on image to play video.