Disability and rehabilitation in the dizzy patient

Curr Opin Neurol. 2006 Feb;19(1):49-54. doi: 10.1097/01.wco.0000194373.08203.33.


Purpose of review: This review focuses on prospective studies of vertigo and balance therapy in the past 3 years, including advances in vertigo-habituation exercises for adults, pediatric intervention, and virtual reality techniques, and, in more depth, the literature pertinent to driving motor vehicles.

Recent findings: Increased support has been generated for the efficacy of a minimal, home-based vertigo-habituation program for adults with peripheral vestibular disorders. Vestibular rehabilitation has been shown to be associated with improvements in independence and dynamic visual acuity. Community-based vestibular rehabilitation has been shown to be efficacious for selected patients, after careful screening, when trained personnel provide intervention. Vestibular rehabilitation has been incorporated into the rehabilitation program for head-injured military personnel who will be returned to duty, and multifactorial balance rehabilitation has been shown to be useful for children with hearing and balance impairments. Virtual reality techniques have made significant advances, so immersive environments have potential for rehabilitation for patients with vestibular disorders and for developing training regimens for astronauts to ameliorate some effects of exposure to microgravity. Driving skill, in general, is affected by use of benzodiazepines. For many patients with vestibular impairments driving is a particularly problematic activity of daily living.

Summary: Progress has been made in studies of acute care, community-based, and pediatric vestibular rehabilitation. Work on simulator-based paradigms has moved toward readiness for implementation. Studies of driving have provided some insight into the problems of these patients. More work remains to be done on all of these problems.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living / psychology*
  • Adult
  • Automobile Driving / psychology
  • Child
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / complications
  • Craniocerebral Trauma / rehabilitation
  • Dizziness / physiopathology
  • Dizziness / psychology
  • Dizziness / rehabilitation*
  • Home Care Services / trends
  • Humans
  • Psychotropic Drugs / adverse effects
  • User-Computer Interface
  • Vertigo / physiopathology
  • Vertigo / psychology
  • Vertigo / rehabilitation*
  • Vestibular Diseases / physiopathology
  • Vestibular Diseases / psychology
  • Vestibular Diseases / rehabilitation*
  • Vestibule, Labyrinth / physiopathology


  • Psychotropic Drugs