Penrose Physical Therapy
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Challenge

Susan in her early 70s developed vestibular neuritis caused by a virus that attacked an inner ear nerve creating vertigo and hearing loss.  She came to Penrose Physical Therapy having a very difficult time even walking a straight line without stumbling all over.  She was unable to drive or go to the grocery store.  Her body would start shaking and she started to feel anxious and feel like she was having a panic attack.  She started to withdraw from public functions and crowds due to her appearance of stumbling and wobbling while walking.

Solution

We had to be very gradual in retraining her brain and vestibular and visual system.  She was given exercises that required her to track objects with her eyes without moving her head and then eventually with moving her head.  She started in sitting and gradually standing and eventually walking.  We then introduced walking on uneven surfaces and obstacle courses.  She learned how to slowly increase the difficulty of the vestibular home program and how to make it easier if she got too dizzy.

Result

After a couple months she was able to drive again and return to grocery shopping without stumbling or feeling dizzy.  She returned to the gym and is able to perform her work out routines now. The nerve damage did result in some permanent hearing loss and vestibular impairment.  However, she understands how the balance work continues to retrain her brain and system to compensate and allow her to function again.

“I’m so grateful for the vestibular re-training I received at Penrose Physical Therapy. They were always so patient and took the time to explain why I was doing what I was doing. They taught me how to slow down and take some control over my vertigo.
Susan Frank

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