Vestibular neuritis is a disorder of the inner ear that can produce dizziness and vertigo resulting from an infection that causes inflammation of the nerve within the inner ear. This nerve connects the vestibular organs of the ear to the brain, and passes sensory information about balance to the brain. Inflammation disrupts the transmission of sensory information from the ear to the brain, disrupting our sense of balance. The viral neuritis usually becomes inflamed because of a viral infection - as the name suggests. This may have started with a sore throat, cold or flu. Neuritis can also be caused by a bacterial infection although this is much less common than viral infections.
The symptoms of viral neuritis can worsen with head movements. The symptoms of Viral Neuritis include:
Nausea and Vomiting
Through a comprehensive history and a series of tests that involve moving the head into specific orientations. These tests aim to determine which ear is effect by the virus/bacteria. This is done through an assessment of eye movements in a very specific pattern called nystagmus. At Vestibular Rehab we use Frenzel goggles to accurately check for nystagmus during these tests.
Based on findings from the exam, patients undergo a treatment technique called habitualisation. This consist of a specific series of exercises used to recalibrate the body's balance system and to improve it. Your physiotherapist will also provide you with specific exercises to restore the balance to the vestibular system so that your sense of orientation and the stability of your vision particularly when moving your head improves and you feel more confident in your balance.
After the Session:
Symptoms of vestibular neuritis settle over a period of a few weeks. During the early phase of the infection symptoms are at their worst. After a few days, the worst of these symptoms should reduce, and you should no longer feel dizzy all the time. While symptoms typically resolve within a few weeks, some people can still suffer from residual symptoms of dizziness/vertigo due to an ongoing imbalance in sensory transmission to the brain between the affected and unaffected ear.
Your physiotherapist will provide a structured program with exercises to complete at home. 83% of patients see a significant improvement in their objective marks of viral neuritis with a focused exercise program. Spontaneous nystagmus is seen to reduce in these patients with a tailored rehab program. On average patients will find significant or complete resolution of their symptoms following two or three sessions.