Objective: Many papers describe vestibular rehabilitation programmes to reduce vertigo and disequilibrium caused by peripheral vestibular disorders, but few studies have assessed performance on purposeful activities. This study determined if performance on a purposeful activity improves after vestibular rehabilitation exercises, and if the speed of treatment exercises influences performance.
Setting: Medical school practice; tertiary care facility.
Subjects: Fifty-three patients with chronic vertigo caused by peripheral vestibular weakness.
Interventions: Subjects performed vestibular rehabilitation head movement exercises to habituate vertigo, in either slow or rapid movement groups.
Main measures: Time to perform a repetitive head movement task and intensity of vertigo elicited by that task, questionnaires about independence in activities of daily living and reported usual intensity of vertigo.
Results: Both groups significantly decreased the time to perform the task and the intensity of elicited vertigo. Results were related to improved independence in activities of daily living and to decreased vertigo.
Conclusion: Vertigo decreases and speed of head movement improved after a programme of vestibular rehabilitation, regardless of speed of treatment exercises. A simple purposeful activity can be useful to evaluate improvements after vestibular rehabilitation.