Vertigo has been an annoyance for most people suffering from vestibular disorders. The constant dizziness, the sensations of moving, & the surroundings spinning can take a toll on your everyday life. Constant, recurrent bouts of vertigo also make it difficult for people to focus on their daily tasks & make them fearful of their surroundings. This can make them anxious to ever step out of their comfort zones & facing the triggers that make them dizzy, nauseous, & motion sick.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy exercises help vertigo patients get desensitized to their vertigo triggers, & also help them get accustomed to their surroundings through constant exposure. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy consists of vertigo exercises that help patients get relief from their vertigo symptoms, along with helping them deal with their vertigo triggers in a better way.
Depending on your specific needs, symptoms, & medical history, your Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy might consist of vertigo exercises, vertigo treatment methods like yoga, Tai Chi, stress reduction activities, along with some vertigo home remedies. Vertigo exercises that your doctor can prescribe you include canalith repositioning manoeuvres like the Epley Maneuver, & other vertigo exercises like the Brandt-Daroff exercises, Semont-Toupet maneuver, the semont-Foster maneuver, etc.
What is the role of Rotational? Chairs in Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy?
General exercises that help reduce stress & improve the body’s balance and coordination like Yoga, Tai Chi, stationary cycling, meditation etc. can also be a part of your vestibular rehabilitation therapy plan. However, as medical science continuously evolves, new technologies & concepts are given way over old methodologies & ways. A similar uprising was witnessed with respect to the vestibular rehabilitation therapy programme with the introduction of rotational chairs as a method of vertigo treatment.
Rotational chairs have been traditionally used as a part of the battery of diagnostic tests for vertigo. These involve the patient sitting in a computerized chair in a darkened room, while the chair moves in different directions & ways to elicit a vertiginous response from the patient. All this while the doctor checks the patient’s ability to maintain their balance & also checks their nystagmus while fixing their gaze on a moving/stationary object in front of them.
Rotational Chair tests give doctors a good idea about which parts of your balance system you use the most, & which ones are the most affected causing your vertigo symptoms. They are an important step in understanding the intricacies of your vestibular system & helping your doctor decide the best vestibular rehabilitation therapy course for you.
However, in the past few years, rotational chairs have also been used as a part of vestibular rehabilitation therapy to help vertigo patients get used to their external surroundings. Rotational chairs work by simulating external movement stimulus to the vertigo patients, thus helping them understand their balance system’s functions & develop better-coping strategies for those.
Rotational Chairs provide a way for doctors & vestibular therapists to provide much needed assistance & exposure to their patients in a controlled, regulated the setting, without the danger of them getting into accidents or life-threatening situations.
What is Traditional Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy used for?
Traditional Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is used for patients displaying vestibular system symptoms like:
● Visual issues
● Problems with maintaining balance & stability
Vestibular Therapy helps these patients with vertigo exercises designed to help them regain their balance & coordination, as well as to train their body to deal with the vertigo triggers better. They also help teach the brain & the other sensory organs to compensate for the loss of natural balance & vestibular functions. Over time, with regular vestibular therapy sessions, vertigo exercises, vertigo medications, & vertigo home remedies, the patient is able to overcome their vertigo triggers & live a healthy life.
Besides being helpful in determining the extent of a patient’s vestibular disturbances, Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy also helps in desensitizing the vertigo patients to their triggers & any external environmental stimulus. To this extent, doctors have employed a lot of mechanisms & added plenty of new innovations to help patients with their vertigo treatment.
The use of rotational chairs in vestibular therapy is just one of these.
How can Rotational Chairs help?
Rotational chairs help treat vertigo patients by invoking external environmental stimuli in the form of constant motions & swaying movements in the computerized chair. This allows the treating doctors to help desensitize the vertigo patients to their vertigo triggers & allow their bodies to develop new coping mechanisms for these triggers.
Rotational Chairs help vestibular therapies in testing their patients’ vestibular functioning more effectively. The chair can produce testing frequencies in a range of 0.01-1.28 Hz, thus allowing therapists & doctors to fine-tune their vertigo testing & vertigo treatment procedures to benefit their patients.
Since the chair was first used in 1907, a lot of significant advances & modifications have been made to the original technology, helping doctors & therapists design better, more efficient vestibular rehabilitation therapy plans for their patients.
Most applications of the Rotational chairs are in the area of diagnosing vestibulo-ocular reflex. The two most common applications of the Rotational Chair are:
● In diagnosing patients with peripheral vestibular disorders,
● In monitoring & evaluating patients with Meniere’s Disease who are currently undergoing pharmacologic vestibular ablation
There are other applications for the rotational chair as well. These include:
● Optokinetic after Nystagmus (OKAN): This test checks the levels of nystagmus in a patient after the removal of an optokinetic field. This is most useful for people experiencing visual issues after a sea trip or cruise.
● Off-vertical axis rotation: In this application, the patient is tilted to a point beyond vertical limits, & then rotated sinusoidally. This helps test the patient’s VOR without inducing significant nausea. This test, however, is experimental as of yet.