The ENT Balance Center is a state of the art facility for the diagnosis and treatment of dizziness and balance disorders.
Dizziness, often called “vertigo” by doctors, is a very common complaint, accounting for many doctor visits per year. Dizziness can occur in children, adults and the elderly.
It is most commonly described as a sensation of motion or spinning when no movement is occurring but may also include unsteadiness, imbalance or one of many other terms used by patients who experience dysequilibrium.
Dizziness is a symptom, not a disease. It can be caused by any one of dozens of disorders. Discovering the cause of dizziness is the first step in finding the best treatment.
Balance testing evaluates the senses which contribute to balance (vestibular system, vision and proprioception). These senses give us the ability to stand and walk. Testing is noninvasive and may include video nystagmography (VNG), rotational testing, ocular motility, and computerized dynamic postorography.
Balance testing helps the doctor to decide if the problem is due to a peripheral (inner ear) or central (brain) disease. The testing can also identify walking problems. These tests help your doctor make a diagnosis and choose the best treatment.
Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy
A Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy program is used to help the body recover from injury to the balance system and to eliminate dizziness that may occur during movement and activ-ity. The exercise program is designed by a physical therapist who has had special training and experience in treating balance problems. The therapist determines what kinds of move-ments and activities bring on the symptoms and whether or not there are any difficulties walking or maintaining balance. The patient is given an exercise program designed to work on those movements which bring on symp-toms, and if needed, to improve balance.
Balance exercises are usually done for 5 to 15 minutes per day with followup visits to the therapist every 1 -2 weeks. Most patients can do their exercises at home. A few patients will work with the therapist several days per week in order to prevent falls.
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A Team Approach
The ENT Balance team includes professionals with skills in neurotology, audiology, balance diagnostics, and balance therapy. Our approach is modeled after balance programs found at large teaching hospitals. It combines feedback and collaboration among vari-ous disciplines within the ENT Balance Team and the referring doctor in order to maximize patient care.
Thomas E. Boismier, MPH, is Director of the Balance Care Center. Prior to joining ENT Associates in 1997 to develop the Center, he spent 10 years as the assistant director of the Vestibular Testing Center at University of Michigan. He has an extensive clinical and research background in vestibular science. He has taught balance testing to professionals nation-wide and abroad, including a teaching secondment in Addenbrooke's Hospital at Cambridge University in England.
All of our balance physical therapists have advanced training and practice exclusively in this specialized field. All of our physical therapists have earned a competency certificate in vestibular rehabilitation therapy from a nationally recognized training program.