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Space and Motion Sensitivity

What is space and motion sensitivity? 

Dizzinessfatiguenausea, and/or disorientation experienced in a car, on a boat, or in busy visual environments (shopping malls or crowded streets) are the most common symptoms of motion and space sensitivity.

Supermarkets, large crowds, or even fence posts seen within a person’s side vision can cause significant distress in people with space and motion sensitivity. Children may not tolerate playing on playground equipment and busy environments, or may complain of upset stomach when riding in a car. However, younger children may not complain but rather avoid activities, appear cranky or overly clumsy. 

What are the common of causes of space and motion sensitivity?

Motion sensitivity occurs when there exists a "disagreement" between visually perceived movement and your vestibular system's perception of movement. Motion sensitivity can be caused by many factors including can be caused by many factors such as poor circulation, inner ear disease, medication usage, injury, infection, allergies, and/or neurological disease. Your Physical therapist will perform a thorough evaluation that begins with a medical history and includes observing and measuring posture, balance and gait, and compensatory strategies, dynamic visual acuity, and eye-head coordination tests that will help determine the cause of your motion sensitivity.

How can physical therapy help with space and option sensitivity?

Physical therapists often try several different things to help people with space and motion sensitivity. One type of treatment is called habituation therapy. Habituation treatment involves exposing you to more and more difficult sensations that bother you so that you will get used to the sensations that bother you so that you do not feel as bad. Habituation treatment is done very slowly so that you can still 

function. If you are exposed to environments and conditions that are too hard for you, you will feel worse. This kind of treatment is usually supervised in a physical 

therapy clinic and is followed up by you in your home. In some people, moving lights around you as you sit or stand have resulted in improvements in function so there is some evidence that this is a possible treatment for your problem. 

Some people have very bad symptoms and cannot tolerate these habituation 

exercises. When this happens, the physical therapist will contact your doctor to see if there is a medicine that can “calm down” your symptoms and then will resume your exercise program after you can tolerate the exercises. 

What are my therapy sessions going to be like?

Therapy for vestibular disorders takes many forms. A qualified physical therapist will first perform a thorough evaluation that begins with a medical history and includes observing and measuring posture, balance and gait, and compensatory strategies. The assessment may also include eye-head coordination tests that measure how well a person’s eyes track a moving object with or without head movement. Using the results, the therapist will develop an individualized treatment plan that includes specific head, body, and eye exercises to be performed both in the therapy setting and at home. The type of exercise utilized depends upon the unique problems that the individual demonstrates during the evaluation. Some exercises are geared toward helping with balance, some with helping the brain resolve differences in the inner ear signals, and some with improving the ability to visually focus. In addition, general exercise is often prescribed to improve overall physical health and well-being. 

How soon can I expect to see improvements?

Each patient is unique, so this time frame can vary greatly. Research shows that depending on the severity of your condition, it takes from 2 weeks to a few months of treatment to resolve a vestibular condition. We most often request a frequency of 2-3 times a week for 12 total visits. That is why our office staff will ask you to schedule all 12 of your sessions before starting therapy. If you need more than 12 sessions, your therapist will discuss this with you after you have completed 12 visits and you will decide together whether continuing with therapy would benefit you or not. If so, your therapist will reevaluate you and send a progress note to your physician requesting an extension.

What are the credentials of my physical therapist?

All licensed physical therapists have had to apply and be selected to attend Physical Therapy school. It is a very competitive process and only those will the highest grades and best potential are selected. Doctors of physical therapy have invested a minimum of 7 years into their undergraduate and graduate training at universities. Once they graduate, they have to sit for a State Board Exam and pass to receive their license to practice. In order to keep their license active, they must dedicate a certain number of hours to continuing education each year.

At Anchor Physical Therapy we also require that therapists attend multiple post-graduate continuing education courses every year to stay up to date with latest research and continuously enhance their treatment skills in order to achieve the best possible treatment outcomes for our patients.

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