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