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How to Perform Visual Vestibular Integration from Home

What is visual vestibular integration? 

Before diving into visual vestibular integration let’s take a moment to review how our body knows where we are in space. The three main sensory systems we use to know where we are in the world and what we need to do to stay upright, balanced and safe. 

Those sensory systems are:

  1. Touch (somatosensory): touch feeling in your feet. The pressure we feel in our feet can let us know if we’re leaning different directions or moving over variable surfaces like uphill or downhill. 
  2. Vision (eyes): Our eyes can tell us what direction we’re moving and taking in the environment to safely navigate obstacles. 
  3. Vestibular: Located in our inner ears (left and right sides), the vestibular system detects our direction, speed, changes in speed, and where we are compared to gravity (are we leaning). 

Why Do We Need Visual Vestibular Integration?

Your brain is constantly getting signals from these systems and comparing all the messages. If they all say the same thing, great! Your brain will take that message and adjust as needed for us to move safely. If these signals are slightly off and not matching up, our brain has a harder time determining what to do for our movements. This can make our brain work harder to figure out what to do, or our brain won’t know what to do to best keep us safe. As a result, we experience brain fog, increased fatigue, rocking, swaying, dizziness or sensations or movement.  

 

 

Visual vestibular integration is our brain comparing just our information from our eyes and inner ear systems. These two systems work closely together to help coordinate our eyes and head movement in addition to balance and movement. This is why an important part of vestibular rehabilitation is working on visual and vestibular integration. When these systems are either not sending an accurate signal, or one system is being relied on more than another, or both, we have trouble with our everyday activities like driving, grocery shopping, scrolling on screens, and quick turning or bending. 

How do we improve visual vertigo with visual vestibular integration?

Visual vestibular integration can be worked on and improved through specific exercises that challenge these systems.  When systems are challenged, it’s common to feel some of your symptoms. The important part is to increase your symptoms a small amount and allow for you to recover. This allows your body to learn, adapt and desensitize to provoking movements. The goal is to progress and increase the challenge of the movements to mimic your everyday activities until you’re symptom free or have minimal symptoms with a short recovery. This can be done with a physical therapist and VRT, and Dr. Ashley with Vizstim has created a way for you to do this in the comfort of your own home! 

What is Vizstim? 

Vizstim is an at-home system to help recover from vestibular dysfunction, concussion and even general balance. There are different kits designed to address these three different areas and are customized with education materials, journals and three levels of exercise progressions to work through. 

“We designed an easily-implemented and standardized exercise kit as a bridge for individuals recovering from injuries such as vestibular dysfunction, concussions, and neurological issues. Designed as an at-home exercise tool, our kits provide an easy and affordable option for home training in visual and vestibular therapy.” –Vizstim website

Dr. Ashley and Vizstim created these at home kits to give individuals the tools in an easy to use and detailed format to help your recovery at home! It’s important to perform regular exercises geared toward your vestibular condition for best results and these kits offer a way to get the most out of your exercises at home. This is an amazing way to get speciality care to those that don’t have vestibular specialists nearby and offer progressions for self guidance. Dr. Ashley also has telehealth so you can have additional support from a trained vestibular physical therapist to guide you with the tools you need in one easy Vizstim package! 

If you’re a clinician or a patient looking to share this awesome resource with your providers, there’s kits for clinicians to use and courses for clinicians to learn more about vestibular rehab and effective examination and treatment techniques. Check out Dr. Ashley’s website and instagram account to learn more!

Contact information

Dr. Ashely Contreras

Website: VIZSTIM

Instagram: @vizstimrecovery

Disclaimer:

Remember: this post is for informational purposes only and may not be the best fit for you and your personal situation. It shall not be construed as medical advice. The information and education provided here is not intended or implied to supplement or replace professional medical treatment, advice, and/or diagnosis. Always check with your own physician or medical professional before trying or implementing any information read here. 

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