What is vestibular physiotherapy? The Wesley Hospital has two vestibular physiotherapists, Jazmin Walsh and Aleena Greenhalgh who recently spoke about what their roles entail and how they use their specialised skills to help patients.
Vestibular physiotherapy is a specialised form of physiotherapy focusing on supporting a patient who is impacted by dizziness, vertigo and balance problems.
Aleena explains they see a wide variety of patients both on the wards and as outpatients and use evidence based techniques to help treat them.
“We perform thorough assesments of our patients and are able to help them with different types ot treatment as indicated, with a majority of referrals coming from GPs, general physicans, neurologists or ENTs,” Aleena said.
“There are many different treatment approaches and maneuvres which can be used to help patients, for example, Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of vertigo and can be treated with repositioning techniques. However we also assess for and treat other common forms of vertigo, dizziness and imbalance.
“Calcium carbonate crystals located within the inner ear can detach from the utricle and end up in the semicircular canals which can cause positional vertigo. We can assess which canal is involed, perform the specific manoeuvre to reposition these otoliths, and in doing so, treat the patient’s vertigo.
“Dependent on the cause of vertigo or identified functional impairments, other focuses of treatment can include gaze stabilisation, integration of the vestibular system into balance and sensory integration, movement habitutation and desensitisation. This can improve one’s clarity of vision with head movement, balance, walking and reduce sensitivity to movement.”
Jazmin said that this was a highly complex and emerging area of healthcare that she really enjoyed as she was able to work with her patients finding the best outcome for them and giving them a better quality of life.
“We are very strong advocates for our patients and take an individualised approach to their care and treat them as whole person,” Jazmin said.
“Recently we saw a patient who was a line dancer who wanted to get back into her dancing and through targeted exercises and techniques she was able to do that.
“I don’t think enough people in the community know about our service or what we do, it would be excellent to get more referrals and be able to help more people.
“I really enjoy a challenge, I love being able to problem solve the reason for a patient’s symptoms and tailor the best treatment plan for the patient. We have a network of peers around Brisbane and rural Queensland and we regularly discuss cases and help each other out to progress our own and others learning.”