Vestibular rehabilitation stimulates the development of the compensatory mechanisms that correct the alterations in spatial orientation and equilibrium produced for peripheral vestibular lesions. This improves a patient’s quality of life by promoting their return to normal daily activities.
In patients with vestibular lesions, certain head, eye, and body movements generate conflicting signals that trigger the sensation of “dizziness” (disequilibrium, unsteadiness, vertigo, etc…) The repetition of these movements or stimuli, thus the repetition of the sensorial conflict, stimulates the development of mechanisms to adapt to the circumstances. These mechanisms train the brain to correct the incorrect signal or recalibrate it according to the rest of the received information (visual and somatosensorial in this case). This adaptation and compensatory training diminishes or disappears the symptoms. These specific movements of head, eyes and body are incorporated to specialized programs of rehabilitation as exercises and repetitions. There are several programs and options to achieve this adaptation, each program is individualized for a quick and full recovery; it is important to start the rehabilitation process as soon as possible.
In the state of Tennessee, patients with most (but not all) insurances can seek outpatient physical therapy treatment without a physician’s referral. This allows patients to be seen, and a program to be initiated, quicker than if they sought a physician appointment prior to physical therapy evaluation. For all insurances that allow the process of Direct Access, the patient’s care will be paid by insurance as it would if a doctor had referred them – this does not mean that a copay/coinsurance is not required, but it will be the same regardless of physician referral. Patients are given the option to have their evaluation materials faxed to the physician of their choice, or to proceed through the physical therapy program without a doctor’s consent.
*Care must be completed within 30 days if a physician has not consented to continued physical therapy care. If no significant progress has been made within 15 days or 6 visits (whichever comes first), a physician must be notified. If the patient returns for the same problem/condition within 90 days, a physician must be notified.