Understanding Vestibular Decompensation

Vestibular Decompensation is the reversal of the brain’s primary compensatory mechanism, which was previously used to address inner ear or vestibular system dysfunction. People with vestibular hypofunction frequently experience episodes of dizziness, vertigo, and imbalance after a few days of bed rest due to vestibular decompensation.

Some individuals are aware that they had a vestibular problem in the past prior to being placed on bedrest; this is caused by the vestibular decompensation of a previously fully compensated vestibular hypofunction. Even yet, people could be unaware that even a few days of inactivity can result in a return of their vestibular symptoms.

To sustain vestibular compensation, an active head motion must be continued throughout life. Although the symptoms of a vestibular decompensation won’t be as bad as the original vestibular hypofunction episode, they can nevertheless lead to vertigo, falls, and a lower quality of life. Some people may not be aware that they have a fully compensated vestibular hypofunction! People with vestibular hypofunction who develop it gradually over time frequently lack awareness of it. Diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, tobacco use, and natural aging of the inner ear are a few typical factors that contribute to vestibular hypofunction over time. Vestibular hypofunction can also be brought on by several ototoxic drugs.

Even while the brain has fully compensated for a vestibular hypofunction, a person may not even be aware of it! Since they weren’t even aware they had a vestibular issue, the person would never have sought treatment in a vestibular rehabilitation before. They might not have detected a problem until after a few days in bed since their brain may have compensated for the hypofunction so effectively.

That period of immobility caused a new onset of dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, or falls due to vestibular decompensation. Vestibular Therapy is effective for recovering from vestibular decompensation. For some people, vertigo seems to come and go, hence it is important that the treatment be specific to the root cause for best results. It is not a one-size-fits-all solution!