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January 17, 2018

15 Signs of Vestibular System Dysfunction and How to Treat It

What is the vestibular system? How does it help us move?

Located in the inner ear, our vestibular system plays an important role in balance, body awareness, posture and movement. When our head moves, this interconnected group of fluid-filled canals and sacs tells our body where our head is positioned in space. 

What does vestibular dysfunction look like?

The vestibular system is, in a word - complicated - and it can be difficult to detect dysfunction and disorder. Often symptoms can go unrecognized. Signs and symptoms to look for in your child include:

  1. Frequent falling
  2. Bumping into walls or objects
  3. Delayed motor skills, like riding a bike
  4. Fatigue 
  5. Poor posture
  6. Ear discomfort – fullness
  7. Behavioral problems
  8. Moving excessively or displaying fear of movement with activities, such as swings, slides and playground equipment
  9. Difficulties with bedtime or waking routines
  10. Moving head when reading and/or difficulties reading
  11. Vomiting in the morning upon getting up from bed
  12. Headaches
  13. Dizziness when watching a video
  14. Incoordination
  15. Motion sensitivity, car sickness  

Who can provide vestibular rehabilitation?

Assessment and treatment of balance and movement disorders requires the expertise of a therapist with advanced training. If you have concerns regarding your child’s development and feel that his or her delays may be related to vestibular dysfunction, please talk with your pediatrician to determine if medical intervention or therapy is needed. 

After a physician’s referral, an evaluation from one of our highly trained therapists will include specific testing of the vestibular, visual and musculoskeletal system.  Treatment will be tailored to the individual child and include fun and functional activities, such as visual motor games, balance and coordination activities, movement, and positioning to influence the vestibular system. We will even provide exercises for use at home!

At Curative New Berlin Therapies, we are the movement and balance experts. Our team of caring and knowledgeable Physical and Occupational Therapist are available for evaluation of these vestibular disorders.

Allie Bennett, Physical Therapist

Allie Bennett, DPT, has a Bachelor's Degree in Biomedical Science and a Doctor of Physical Therapy Degree from Marquette University. Allie has been practicing Physical Therapy since 2011 with a focus on pediatrics. Her specialty areas include treating children with neurological and genetic disorders and vestibular dysfunction. Her favorite part of being a therapist is developing relationships with patients and their families and helping children become more independent. In her free time, Allie enjoys traveling, hiking, practicing yoga, and spending time with her family and friends.

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