When we suffer brain trauma – at any level, there’s a high probability we can expect to suffer vestibular disturbances. This is somewhat similar to vision issues and can often combine to produce similar symptoms, or make existing symptoms from vision deficits worse when paired together.
Physiotherapy can support vestibular recovery but doesn’t always focus specifically on this core issue. While going through the BrainEx90 program at Parkwood Hospital in London Ontario, I was introduced to the following exercise. If you haven’t been through a program like this and are recovering from a brain injury or are struggling with Post Concussion Syndrome (PCS) I would highly recommend searching for a local option. Parkwood also has a great return to school program I had the pleasure of attending a few years ago as well. That program had plenty of resources and strategies for attending school while dealing with symptoms and difficulties (I will publish more about this in the future). Here is a link to learn more about Parkwoods treatment programs.
I don’t remember the name for this exercise so let’s just call it Vestibular Exercise #1. (Creative eh?) But to put it simply, what you’ll do for this one is tape one of the pages from the PDF I will attach below to a wall at eye level. You want your eyes to line up between the center and the upper third quarter of the page. For the other sheet, place it on the ground 3 or 4 feet out from the wall so that if you were leaning against the wall the letters/numbers would be upright and readable. Next, you will stand between the two papers. Starting by facing the wall; with your index finger, touch the lowest letter or number on the sheet. Then, with your head high (no looking at your feet) turn 180 degrees. Following this, bend down and touch the lowest letter or number from the sheet on the ground. Now stand back upright and as a second motion, turn another 180 degrees so you are facing the wall sheet again and have completed a 360 turn. Repeat this until you have worked your way to the end of the alphabet/number lists. Take your time and be patient with yourself, there is no sense in overdoing it but you definitely want to push yourself, a little. Once this becomes easier for you, change the 180-degree turn to a 540-degree turn. Do this daily until you can handle it with no issues. Then test yourself weekly. (Recommendations are my own, a survivor, not a doctor)
Here are the sheets you need to print.
Questions? Hit me on socials @519jc
PS, credit to Parkwood for the sheets and for the exercise.