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Vestibular System

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The vestibular system is a sensory system that relays information to our brain regarding the orientation and position of our head in space, how fast we are moving & what direction we are moving in, as well as information regarding movement of our eyes. It is a crucial part of balance, postural stability, equilibrium, and clear vision.

When there is a deficit in the vestibular system, symptoms such as dizziness, headaches, and balance impairments may arise.  By means of a thorough vestibular examination, we administer a number of tests to determine if the vestibular system may be indeed at fault.  The use of specialized infrared goggles called Frenzel Goggles are used to further determine if the issues stem from a peripheral or a central vestibular cause.       

Peripheral Disorders could include conditions such as: 

  • Acoustic Neuroma (vestibular schwannoma)  
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) 
  • Labyrinthine Infarction  
  • Meniere’s Disease  
  • Vestibular Neuritis or Labyrinthitis 

Central Disorders could include conditions such as: 

  • Motion Sensitivity
  • Post-Concussive Syndrome (PCS)    
  • Post-Stroke and Central Disorders  
  • Vestibular Migraine   
  • Visual Vertigo  

Once we know the extent and type of vestibular disruption, vestibular rehabilitation aims to assist symptoms.  With a well-built rehabilitation plan of care, we are able to help retrain your brain into interpreting the information it receives in a structured, accurate manner – as it should. 

That said, this process is not always a quick one and does require patient specific exercises at home. Repetition of these exercises produces a reduction of symptoms over time. 

Written by Shaheeza Haji

Shaheeza Haji graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Alberta in 2009, followed by a Master of Physiotherapy from the University of Western Ontario in 2011. Being a staunch believer in “exercise is medicine” she attained her Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist status though the National Strength and Conditioning Association in 2013. At the end of that same year, Shaheeza was involved in a major life-altering electrocution incident whereby she sustained a number of injuries which required surgery and years of rehabilitation. One of these injuries was a traumatic brain injury; it is thought that the electrical current exploded within the confined space of her skull, which for lack of better terminology was coined by her medical team as an “electrical concussion.” This lead to her becoming certified in the treatment and management of Concussions in 2018. Also in 2018, Shaheeza began instructing at CDI college, heading up the Rehabilitation Therapy Assistant Diploma Program. Today, Shaheeza combines her love of teaching, her passion of concussion research, and the empathy & experience from her own injury to help those with acute and chronic concussions. Shaheeza also has a drive for entrepreneurship, being the CEO of Running Shoe Inc., directing both Running Shoe Restorative Healthcare and the Calgary Concussion Centre.
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