Objectives: To determine the effects of vestibular rehabilitation on gait ataxia and balance.
Setting: Tertiary care center. Study design Subjects were patients with chronic vertigo due to peripheral vestibular impairments, referred for vestibular rehabilitation. They were assessed on the Timed Up and Go test, ataxia during a path integration test, computerized dynamic posturography, level of vertigo, independence in activities of daily living, and psychological locus of control. They were randomly assigned to three home program treatment groups.
Results: Ataxia decreased significantly, and posturography scores and time to perform Timed Up and Go improved significantly, for all subjects. Improvements were significantly related to scores on the ambulation subtest of the Vestibular Disorders Activities of Daily Living Scale, decreases in vertigo, and increases in locus of control.
Conclusions: For many patients, a simple home program of vestibular habituation head movement exercises is related to reduced symptoms of imbalance during stance and gait.