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What does a vestibular therapist do?

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A vestibular therapist creates and instructs a patient in a program of physical therapy exercises designed to help with vertigo, dizziness or other balance issues, Cleveland Clinic explains. The vestibular therapist examines a patient's walking gait, neck movement, balance and visual stability in order to formulate a plan for care. Depending on the condition of patients, vestibular rehabilitation therapy can last from one or two sessions to a few months.

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Vestibular therapy can benefit patients who experience the after-effects of a stroke or brain injury and those with conditions such as benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, migraine headaches or Meniere’s syndrome, states Cleveland Clinic. Exercises for these conditions can include posture training, balance retraining, neck motion exercises and vision stability exercises. Vestibular therapists tailor treatments specifically to each patient. Medical professionals may use these exercises alone, or if necessary, with surgical treatments for the underlying problem. Many patients benefit from these exercises when they practice them at home as well as with the vestibular therapist.

Treatment by a vestibular therapist often results in improved balance, decreased fall risk, improved ability to stabilize vision, decreased dizziness and increased body strength, Cleveland Clinic states. Patients often experience increased confidence in their balance and a return to former activities.

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