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BCM - Baylor College of Medicine

Giving life to possible

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