Ménière's disease can be a difficult disorder to live with, causing a host of symptoms from vertigo to hearing loss to depression. If, like many sufferers, you're looking for new ways to manage your condition, consider booking an appointment with a physiotherapist. While physiotherapy can't treat the underlying inner ear dysfunction that causes Ménière's disease, it can help you deal with the symptoms and effects of the condition. Here are three ways you might benefit from physiotherapy.
One of the most effective ways physiotherapy can be used to treat a vestibular disorder like Ménière's disease is through an exercise programme called vestibular rehabilitation. Incorporating a number of physiotherapist-led movements that can be performed in the physio office and at home, vestibular rehabilitation targets the eyes, head and neck to improve balance. Your rehabilitation programme will be developed based on your individual needs, addressing your specific dizziness issues. While it may not stop your most severe, acute vertigo episodes, this type of physical therapy can reduce and even stop the dizziness and balance difficulties you experience in between such attacks. If you struggle in complex visual surroundings like supermarkets or busy roads, your physiotherapist will also show you exercises that reduce your dependence on your eyes and help you use other sensory input to keep your balance. On top of all this, successful vestibular physiotherapy can help improve your mood and alleviate depression and anxiety by reducing the fear or discomfort you feel in your day to day life.
Many people are unaware that physiotherapists can offer valuable advice alongside providing manual treatments. One such area of advice that's particularly useful to Ménière's sufferers is how to modify your home to make it safer in the event of a vertigo attack. Your physiotherapist can guide you on which lights and alarms are best, how to use special seats, bars and mats in your bathroom to avoid slips, and which specialist ramps or stair handrails you might benefit from if you live in a multi-storey property. Advice may also include information on which dangers you should remove from your home (including rugs, clutter and troublesome furniture) and on gadgets and tools that can help you clean, shop, cook and live comfortably without throwing off your balance.
Neck Pain Reduction
Neck pain and stiffness are common symptoms of Ménière's disease. While it's not caused by the disease itself, it can occur as a result of improper balance techniques that many people with Ménière's use to get around. A physiotherapist can help you reduce neck discomfort in two ways. Firstly, the vestibular rehabilitation you undergo will show you how to keep your balance the right way without resorting to the techniques which lead to neck pain. Secondly, physiotherapists can also show you specific techniques that reduce stiffness and tightness as well as administering manual massage to alleviate pain.