I have received some amazing and unique treatments for my vestibular symptoms and I am so thankful. Some have been more helpful than others.
For me, there are multiple angles to my treatment, and I consider my treatment holistic. Lots of puzzle pieces, and some larger than others.
I am simply sharing my tools and treatments as a part of my journey.
The list includes . . .
CAREN :: (Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environment)
and Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT)
I am an advocate for VRT as a support to healing and regaining balance and brain function. No one treatment is a cure, but rather a support for me anyway. The way I explain VRT is that it entails exercises that help retrain my brain to communicate with my inner ear/ balance system. I can say VRT helped me gain my balance back over the span of the last two years.
I had breaks in between going, and have to admit I have slacked on eye exercises, but even with that being said, I can say I am overall 85-90% better on most days even though I still deal with derealization and decreased cognitive function. My balance is wayyyy better!
My VRT Story
My Diagnoses have evolved overtime. Currently I have PPPD, Cervicogenic Dizziness, and Vestibular Migraine. But in the beginning it started off with diagnoses of Vestibular Neuritis, and Acute Peripheral Vestibulopathy.
My vestibular journey started In May 2018 I woke up with vertigo after going through some major life events, and a severe pinched nerve in my neck, and was never the same. I was very freaked out, but I wasn’t taking no for an answer. I started googling Vertigo.
5 days later, I saw my primary care doctor who knows me well, and she was the first practitioner who mentioned I may need to see a Vestibular Therapist for VRT.
I had been through so many other chronic illnesses that took over my life before this day so I was determined to fight. The symptoms got worse and I ended up in the ER.
After being in the ER 2 times at Balboa Naval hospital and having a normal CT brain scan, they referred me to a VT in their physical therapy clinic on base which is located within their physical therapy program.
The base holds symposiums so the ER department, practitioners and inpatient areas come together with a continuity program.
The fruits of their labor came forward when I showed up.
I met my VT and she offered me an opportunity to participate in a new form of VRT
CAREN - computer assisted rehabilitation environment at the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC)
The CAREN is used for a variety of tests, and studies including Warfighter Performance training, PTSD patients, and more.
There are 5 CAREN systems in the D.O.D. and I think I read 6 or 7 in the US, and approximately 20 world wide.
CAREN from June 2018 - September 2018 (EEG within the study)
I have continued with the CAREN system along with traditional customized VT exercises as a part of my VRT off and on since then. I have also done a home program with a variety of custom eye and balance exercises based on my symptoms.
My VT is a big fan of encouraging additional supportive treatments for me or anything else that supports my quality of life like….
Calming my nervous system down with yoga, meditation, mindfulness.
I have seen about 20 doctors/ practitioners/ specialists related to my vestibular symptoms so I can find a root cause, and what I learned was a lot of the tools are within myself and VRT was a big puzzle piece in coping and regaining a lot of my balance back.
Taken back in 2018 during the caren study
Publications :: Articles :: Symposiums :: Videos
From Naval Health Research Center Public Affairs - (NHRC Scientists Receive Award for Transforming a Rehabilitation Tool to Prevent Injury, Promote Resilience)
Expanding the Rehabilitation of Injured Service Members Using Immersive, Large-Scale Virtual Environments
Naval Health Research Center
THE FUTURE IS NOW: Inside the NHRC’s New Virtual Warfighter Lab. June 2010.
(Improvements in Gait Speed and Weight Shift of Persons With Traumatic Brain Injury and Vestibular Dysfunction Using a Virtual Reality Computer-Assisted Rehabilitation Environment)
A Look Inside: Navy Medicine’s West Coast Research Lab, Naval Health Research Center
Developments in Computer Assisted Rehabilitation Environments (2013 R. VAN DER MEER, MD (NL)
The Article is based on a lecture, delivered during the 40th ICMM World Congress on Military Medicine, 7-12 Dec 2013, Jeddah, Saudi-Arabia.
Vestibular physical therapy intervention: utilizing a computer assisted rehabilitation environment in lieu of traditional physical therapy. (Gottshall KR, Sessoms PH, Bartlett JL. Vestibular physical therapy intervention: utilizing a computer assisted rehabilitation environment in lieu of traditional physical therapy. Conf Proc IEEE Eng Med Biol Soc. 2012;2012:6141-6144. doi:10.1109/EMBC.2012.6347395)
Video's featuring the CAREN system Below
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy for Patients
Human Performance Research insights from Naval Health Research Center
CAREN Virtual Reality Treadmill: Take a Video Tour
Many service members and veterans have been known to suffer from vestibular dysfunction and there is help!
I love that I have been able to experience the KAREN system at the Naval Medical Center San Diego and the Naval Health Research Center (NHRC) here in San Diego where our service members, veterans, and civilians have gone for studies and help to treat their vestibular disorders and dysfunction.
More of my health Team and Doctors along the way
My Acupuncturist who practices functional medicine
I started my journey with Pete in January of 2018 before my vestibular disorders hit me. My therapist recommended him and she never steers me wrong. I am so thankful for Pete. He knows my journey well, and really cares about my wellness. Even in the times I was not patient with my symptoms and body or the treatments, he always has my best interest in mind.
Pete practices acupuncture, cranio sacral therapy, and herbal medicine just to name a few of his specialties.
My gut has healed a lot, and he has helped treat my anxiety, depression, vestibular disorders, body pain (in particular neck and lower back disc bulge), and overall health.
Pete uses clean supplement brands as well which I appreciate!
Thank you so much Pete!
My Otoneurologist in San Diego, CA
Dr. Purcell and his PA Mr. Touraj Yari PA-C, MSPA have been my Otoneurology team since July 2018 and they have helped me rule out a variety of things while I have been living with my vestibular disorders.
Neurocom sensory organization test
MRI of the brain Holistic discussions about factors involved
CT of Temporal Lobes IR Oculography
VEMP - Vestibular evoked myogenic potential Romberg test and MoCA testing
VNG - Videonystagmography
My ENT at the Senta Clinic in San Diego, CA
After I broke my nose in 2016, my dear friend referred me to her ENT, Dr. Brian Weeks and his PA Jeanie. Shout out to Dr. Weeks for my surgery and care.
My time with them led me to Dr. Purcell in 2018. I went to them freaked out completely by my severe vestibular symptoms. They helped rule our and guide me to Dr. Purcell.
More to Come!
More to Come!