BACKGROUND: Persistent postural-perceptual dizziness (PPPD) (formerly chronic subjective dizziness) may be treated using the habituation form of vestibular and balance rehabilitation therapy (VBRT), but therapeutic outcomes have not been formally investigated.
OBJECTIVE: This pilot study gathered the first data on the efficacy of VBRT for individuals with well-characterized PPPD alone or PPPD plus neurotologic comorbidities (vestibular migraine or compensated vestibular deficits).
METHODS: Twenty-six participants were surveyed by telephone an average of 27.5 months after receiving education about PPPD and instructions for home-based VBRT programs. Participants were queried about exercise compliance, perceived benefits of therapy, degree of visual or motion sensitivity remaining, disability level, and other interventions.
RESULTS: Twenty-two of 26 participants found physical therapy consultation helpful. Fourteen found VBRT exercises beneficial, including 8 of 12 who had PPPD alone and 6 of 14 who had PPPD with co-morbidities. Of the 14 participants who found VBRT helpful, 7 obtained relief of sensitivity to head/body motion, 5 relief of sensitivity to visual stimuli, and 4 complete remission. Comparable numbers for the 12 participants who found VBRT not helpful were 1 (head/body motion), 3 (visual stimuli), and 0 (remission).
CONCLUSIONS: This pilot study offers the first data supporting the habituation form of VBRT for treatment of PPPD.