Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

Physical Therapy and Rehabilitation

ISSN 2055-2386
Original Research

Effect of vestibular adaptation exercises on chronic motion sensitivity: a randomized controlled trial

Danah Alyahya1, Eric G. Johnson1*, Noha S. Daher2, Shilpa B. Gaikwad1, Sukrut Deshpande1, Tim K. Cordett1 and Lisa Zidek3

*Correspondence: Eric G. Johnson

1. Department of Physical Therapy, Loma Linda University, California, USA.

Author Affiliations

2. Department of Allied Health Studies, Loma Linda University, California, USA.

3. Loma Linda University Medical Center, California, USA.


Background: Dizziness is one of the most common complaints reported to primary care physicians. It is often associated with vestibular dysfunction and typically impacts postural stability. Motion sickness, or motion sensitivity, is stimulated by abnormal spatial orientation and is a common symptom related to dizziness and postural instability. The main cause of the motion sensitivity is aberrant sensory input from the visual, vestibular and somatosensory systems. The aim of this study was to measure the effect of vestibular adaptation exercises on postural stability in young healthy adults with subjective awareness of chronic motion sensitivity.

Methods: Fifty healthy male and female participants between 20 to 40 years of age with chronic motion sensitivity were randomly assigned to either an experimental or control group. Postural stability measurements were taken at baseline and after 6 weeks using computerized dynamic posturography with immersion virtual reality. The experimental group performed daily vestibular adaptation exercises for 6 weeks. The control group was asked to avoid adding any new activities until post assessment to minimize additional vestibular system stimulation.

Results: There was no significant difference between the two groups at baseline in terms of mean age, height, weight, BMI or baseline postural stability scores (p>0.05). Significant differences in mean postural stability scores were observed post intervention in both groups but larger improvements were detected in the experimental group (p=0.002).

Conclusions: Minimal dosage of vestibular adaptation exercises improved postural stability in younger adults with chronic motion sensitivity. Additionally, familiarity of the testing environment during post-test measurements may have contributed to improvements in the control group over time; however, changes were greater in the experimental group.

Keywords: Motion sensitivity, postural stability, vestibular rehabilitation, vestibular adaptation exercises

ISSN 2055-2386
Volume 3
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