Vestibular Exercises

Many patients experience problems with vertigo after surgery. Though the following exercises might not be suitable to your needs or appropriate to your situation, many patients have reported doing similar exercises on their own after microsurgery. They have intuitively tried to exercise their body in a way to get over the uncomfortable balance feelings. Walking or standing to help the brain relearn balance appears to be a crucial part of recovery from abrupt disruption of the vestibular nerve.

For pre-treatment patients whose vestibular (balance) nerve is being affected by the tumor, these exersizes should also be helpful.  With their help, most patients quickly relearn balance.  However, if the problems are caused by surgical damage to the vestibular part of the brain itself (central vestibular neuropathy), professional therapy might be more appropriate. Consult with your physician or physical therapist to find a plan best for you.

(by AN patients)

The vestibular lab at the University of Michigan gave me a couple of vestibular exercises to do post-op for a couple months. They were very effective so I will pass them along.

All of these should be done several times a day. I was also told to walk 30-60 minutes a day. Very helpful! I even incorporated the above exercises into my walks.

Hope this helps some of you with your vertigo problems.

Simple and effective

The following simple exercise is apparently effective at training the balance mechanism in the brain to work with one side only:

Try tip-toeing up and down a narrow hall, for 5 minutes in the morning and 5 minutes at night, putting arms out to the well to correct yourself if you over-balance. 

Dynamic walking drills

Walk 5/7 days, for at least 30 minutes per day:

1. Walk with head turns (side to side and up and down)
2. Walk, change speed (speed up, slow down)
3. Walk, change direction (90 degree turn; 180 degree pivot turn)
4. Walk backwards
5. Walk on uneven terrain

Standing balance drills

  1. Standing -- eyes closed, move feet apart, move them back together
  2. Standing -- active weight shifts (shift forward, back, side to side) with eyes open, then closed
  3. March in place with eyes closed
  4. March in place with head turns

Last Edited: Wednesday, October 30, 2002