What is Vestibular Neuritis?
Vestibular Neuritis is a condition where inflammation of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear produces symptoms of dizziness, nausea, and loss of balance. Symptoms can vary greatly depending on the area affected and are typically worse at onset and gradually improve over days or weeks. Other signs and symptoms of vestibular neuritis can include a sensation of fullness in the ear(s) and visual motion sensitivity. Vestibular Neuritis is one of the most common causes of dizziness and can significantly impact quality of life.
The exact cause of Vestibular Neuritis is not quite known and may involve infection, blood clots, or auto-immune deficiencies. These lead to inflammation of the vestibular nerve connecting our vestibular system (which tells us our head movement and position in space) to our brain. This can then result in damage to the nerve and thus improper communication to our brain.
Vestibular neuritis affects men and women equally, typically between the ages of 30 and 60. Those 40 to 50 are most likely to be afflicted. Some studies have shown up to 30% of individuals diagnosed with vestibular neuritis had a cold just prior to the onset of their symptoms.
Signs & Symptoms
Treatment for vestibular neuritis can often include medications such as Gravol and Serc (betahistine dihydrochloride) to help reduce symptoms. Steroid based medications may also be used to help reduce the duration of the inflammation.
How physiotherapy can help
Through vestibular rehabilitation, your physiotherapist will seek to identify areas of difficulty for you resulting from your vestibular neuritis. This will analyze head movement, eye movement, balance, gaze stabilization, and more. Once identified, a customized program will be created to help improve these areas of difficulty, thus reducing symptoms and improving quality of life.