Vestibular specialist Susan Cohen leads her patient through a visual tracking exercise.
October is National Physical Therapy Month, and each week this month we will be highlighting our physical therapists and the unique and innovative treatments they are using.
Vestibular Therapy treats a broad spectrum of balance dysfunctions including vertigo, imbalance and dizziness. Susan Cohen, MPT, is a physical therapist at Bacharach’s Central Square location. “Often when patients come in, their script simply reads ‘vertigo’. I begin with performing a variety of tests to narrow down what may be causing their symptoms. I evaluate a patient’s balance, vision, coordination, neck, strength and most importantly the description of their specific complaints or difficulties. Learning whether the patient is experiencing spinning, light headedness or unsteadiness is a good beginning and helps me to map out the individual treatment plan.”
Susan, a physical therapist for 17 years, has been working with vestibular patients since 2002. “Over the 14 years of working with patients with vestibular disorders, I have had the opportunity to work with patients with a variety of diagnoses including BPPV, Meniere’s Disease, acoustic neuroma, concussion, vestibular neuritis and labyrinthitis. It has been fascinating to see the recovery and how happy patients are to get back to life activities. I’m always learning, especially from the patients – they have taught me so much – this is one aspect which makes me love what I do”.
The number one goal of vestibular therapy is helping patients get back to their daily activities, enjoying life without feeling they have to limit their movements for fear of bringing on their symptoms which maybe nausea, spinning or fear of falling.
“A lot of people just stop doing the things that they love because they are afraid of falling, or they change the way they move resulting in neck or back stiffness,” Susan explained. “My job is to identify what is causing their balance or vertigo problem and teach them what they need to do at home as well as in therapy to safely get them back to doing the things that they love.”
“Vestibular therapy can be very emotional for patients because they may look healthy, but their problems are unseen, said Cohen. They may be out of work or unable to perform their family responsibilities, which is stressful and they are thankful to have someone who has an understanding of their problems and is leading them on the path to getting back to their normal lifestyle.”
For more information about vestibular therapy at Bacharach call 609-652-7000.