Center for Balance Disorders

Vestibular Rehabilitation

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy at the balance disorder center is provided by Helen Cohen, Ed.D., OTR, FAOTA, an internationally recognized occupational therapist-vestibular physiologist and expert in vestibular and balance rehabilitation. Dr. Cohen will evaluate the patient and tailor exercises and/or therapy maneuvers for a specific inner ear disorder. Rehabilitation may require one or more visits from the patient.

What is vestibular rehabilitation?

  • A non-invasive approach for patients with vestibular and balance disorders
  • A systematic, individually designed regimen of exercises and activities that address the unique needs of individual patients

What are the justifications for referral?

  • Positional vertigo
  • Persistent vertigo
  • History of falls
  • Motion sensitivity
  • Headache, stiff neck
  • Visual motion disturbances
  • Blurred vision
  • Agoraphobia (fear of open spaces)
  • Poor balance

What are the goals of therapy?

  • Decrease frequency, intensity, and duration of vertigo
  • Decrease related symptoms such as headache, nausea, and lightheadedness
  • Improve balance
  • Increase independence in daily life
  • Develop compensatory strategies for coping with dizziness, disequilibrium, and anxiety

What are typical diagnoses?

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
  • Labyrinthitis
  • Vestibular neuronitis
  • Chronic vestibulopathy
  • Disequilibrium of aging
  • Post-surgical imbalance
  • Connective tissue disorders
  • Bilateral vestibular weakness from ototoxicity
  • Vertigo of unknown etiology

What does the evaluation assess?

  • Level of vertigo or other dizziness
  • Motions that stimulate vertigo
  • Functional balance
  • Mobility skills
  • Musculoskeletal function
  • Independence in basic self-care skills and other daily life tasks

What kind of rehabilitation is done?

  • Exercises and activities to decrease vertigo
  • Repositioning maneuvers and exercises for positional vertigo
  • Balance retraining
  • Counseling for safety equipment
  • Safety training and other mobility skills
  • Training in activities of daily living

How do I get a referral?

  • Must have a written prescription for occupational therapy from a physician
  • Physician should indicate diagnosis
  • Center for Balance Disorders hours: Monday - Friday 8 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Therapy clinic days are Tuesdays and Thursday, 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.
  • Phone: (713) 798-6336
  • Fax: (713) 798-8658