Addition of Vestibular Rehabilitation Services

Dizziness, vertigo and loss of balance can be frustrating and potentially dangerous afflictions that far too often go untreated.

Tidewater Physical Therapy’s Richmond practice is addressing these issues head on with the addition of vestibular rehabilitation services at the Powhatan, Laburnum, and Westchester Commons clinics. Physical Therapists Farah-Dale Morris, PT, DPT, Fegan Hewitt, PT, DPT, and Heather Vaughan, PT, DPT, recently completed additional training and education courses to bring balance and fall prevention services to their respective clinics.

Farah-Dale Morris PT, DPT

Farah-Dale Morris PT, DPT

“The reward of making people feel better, more stable, and safer as well as the challenge of figuring out ways to improve a patient’s balance, are why I decided to further my education in the area of vestibular rehabilitation,” Morris said.

Fegan Hewitt, PT, DPT

Fegan Hewitt, PT, DPT

Morris will treat balance patients at the Westchester Commons Clinic, while Vaughan will see those patients at the Powhatan Clinic and Hewitt at the Laburnum Clinic. Treatment will focus on balance and fall prevention for those dealing with dizziness and instability on their feet.

According to the Vestibular Disorders Association, as many as 35 percent of adults aged 40 or older in the United States – approximately 69 million people – have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction. Once thought to be a condition primarily afflicting adults, the association says increasingly more and more evidence suggests children also suffer from balance disorders.

Heather Vaughan PT, DPT

Heather Vaughan PT, DPT

Vestibular disorders can be brought on as a result of disease, injury or aging. Symptoms often include dizziness, vertigo (a spinning or whirling sensation), vision disturbances, hearing changes, cognitive changes (difficulty concentrating, confusion or disorientation), and imbalance such as stumbling and loss of coordination.

One of the defining characteristics of vestibular disorders is their incapacitating nature.

“I have been working with patients who suffer from vertigo for several years now,” Vaughan said. “I find dizziness a very debilitating condition that many patients have endured for months, even years at a time, with no relief.”

The key to relieving these symptoms is for patients to receive treatment as quickly as possible. All three clinicians agree that having a trained professional who knows which areas of the body to assess and which exercises improve mobility and stability is critical to effectively treating balance disorders.

“I truly enjoy the creative aspects of vestibular rehab such as finding different ways to challenge the three systems that control postural stability. Watching as a patient walks in the room barely able to stay standing, and then walk out without even a sway in their stride is very gratifying,” Morris said.

The Westchester Commons Clinic is located at 15757 WC Main Street in Midlothian. The Powhatan Clinic is located at 3510 Anderson Highway Suite 2 in Powhatan. The Laburnum Clinic is located at 4831 South Laburnum Ave. in Richmond.

In addition to Vestibular Rehabilitation, all three clinics offer a variety of comprehensive physical therapy services aimed at addressing injury-related ailments and musculoskeletal disorders. Call 804-858-0220 to schedule an appointment at the Westchester Commons Clinic. To schedule an appointment at the Powhatan Clinic call 804-598-2100. To schedule an appointment at Laburnum call 804.222.0745