Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) is specialized physical therapy designed to treat dizziness, vertigo and imbalance caused by various vestibular disorders such as BPPV, vestibular neuritis and Meniere’s Disease, among many others.  These types of conditions can cause motion sensitivity, difficulty walking and changing position and increase the risk of falling.  For this reason, vestibular rehabilitation therapy is sometimes referred to as balance therapy.

At Sierra Nevada Ear, Nose & Throat, we specialize in vestibular rehabilitation therapy. Our trained medical team will work with you from diagnosis through treatment, with the goal of regaining normal daily function.

Learn more about conditions that benefit from VRT, the types of therapy we offer and expected patient outcomes below.

Conditions That Benefit From VRT

“Vestibular” refers to the intricate network between the inner ear and brain that processes sensory cues and controls balance. As you move, so does the fluid in your ear, sending messages to your brain about spatial positioning. When this process is disrupted, balance problems–vestibular disorders–can occur. A vestibular disorder may result in dizziness, vertigo, gaze instability, imbalance and/or unexplained falls.

When a patient comes to Sierra Nevada ENT complaining of the issues above, our doctors first take a detailed medical history and chart the onset, severity, frequency and duration of symptoms. They then perform a physical exam to provide an appropriate diagnosis and develop a patient-specific treatment plan based upon examination findings, patient goals and lifestyle, and medical history.

Conditions that can benefit from vestibular rehabilitation therapy include, but are not limited to:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Labyrinthitis or vestibular neuritis
  • Ménière’s disease
  • Secondary endolymphatic hydrops
  • Mal de Débarquement (MDD)
  • Vestibular migraine
  • Cervical vertigo (cervicogenic dizziness)
  • Stroke, traumatic brain injury or persistent concussion symptoms (PCS)
  • Age-related dizziness and/or imbalance

There is no single cause of vestibular disorders. They may be inherited or the result of infection or disease, injury, age or medication. That is why it is so important to consult with a medical professional, such as the experts at Sierra Nevada ENT, to determine the underlying cause and create an effective vestibular rehabilitation therapy plan.

More on Balance Disorder Symptoms

Is Vestibular Rehabilitation Suitable For All?

Vestibular rehabilitation therapy is designed around the specific needs of each patient. VRT can be adapted for all individuals, including older populations and those with limited mobility.

Exercises generally fall into one of three categories.

  • Habituation
    • Habituation aims to decrease the severity of a response through repeated exposure to the problematic stimuli. It works best with patients who experience dizziness or instability in conjunction with movements, such as turning their head quickly or looking up.
  • Gaze stabilization
    • Gaze stabilization exercises are specific, repeated movements of the head while viewing objects set against different backgrounds. It is generally recommended for those who experience visual blurring, difficulty focusing, and/or dizziness with movement such as walking. 
  • Balance training
    • Balance training involves exercises to strengthen posture and body mechanics when standing still and while moving in a controlled environment in order to reduce the risk of falling and improve safety with daily activities. Any patient experiencing instability with daily activities will benefit from this approach. 

While each balance therapy method targets a different issue, all involve consistent exposure and movements that build upon one another gradually in a safe and professional setting.

At the Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation, our experts tailor each vestibular therapy program to the individual patient, helping them reduce vestibular disorder symptoms and return to normal daily function.


Vestibular disorders can be sustained or episodic in nature and are often highly disruptive to daily functions. As a result, individuals suffering from balance problems may cease normal activities and experience anxiety, depression, or other physical or mental health issues. This can have profound social and economic ramifications.

The most effective method to alleviate vestibular disorders is vestibular rehabilitation therapy. This form of physical therapy teaches your body and your brain to compensate for disruptions to your sensory system.

Sierra Nevada ENT’s Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation offers an advanced balance therapy program that allows patients to reduce and even eliminate the symptoms of vestibular disorders, including vertigo, dizziness, gaze instability, imbalance and/or falls, as well as accompanying symptoms such as headaches, nausea, fatigue and disorientation.

Based on a patient’s diagnosis and presentation, our therapists customize a treatment plan, working with the individual in a one-on-one setting, as well as providing an exercise routine that can be performed at home. Our goal is to help patients identify, manage and reduce symptoms in order to return to normal daily function.

If you have been diagnosed with a vestibular condition, it is time to see an ear, nose and throat doctor to determine if vestibular rehabilitation therapy may be right for you. Call Sierra Nevada ENT today to make an appointment with specialists at our Center for Vestibular Rehabilitation.

Finding a VRT Center

Visit Sierra Nevada Ear Nose & Throat

With locations in Reno, Carson City, Gardnerville and Fallon, Sierra Nevada ENT has been proudly serving the Northern Nevada area for over 25 years.

We treat a variety of vestibular disorders at our state-of-the-art balance therapy center. Our experts specialize in vestibular rehabilitation therapy for patients with vertigo, dizziness, balance deficits and more.

Sierra Nevada ENT offers VRT in a caring, safe and professional setting. Our team is committed to helping patients alleviate symptoms associated with balance disorders and return to normal function. Call to schedule an appointment today.

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