A new study by researchers in the UK and Sweden have found that internet-based vestibular rehabilitation training is effective at reducing dizziness and dizziness-related disability in older adults. The findings were published in the May/June 2017 edition of the Annals of Family Medicine.
The single-center, single-blind randomized controlled trial evaluated patients from 54 primary care practices in southern England. The patients in the study had to have consulted their general practitioner with symptoms of dizziness over the last 2 years and still be experiencing dizziness made worse by head movements. Additionally, participants were required to have access to the internet and be at least 50 years of age or older.
A total of 296 patients were randomized to either standard care or an intervention group that utilized an automated internet-based program that teaches vestibular rehabilitation exercises and offers suggestions for cognitive behavioral management strategies.
Promising Results for Dizziness Patients
The Vertigo Symptom Scale-Short Form (VSS-SF) was used to measure the reported symptoms of dizziness at the onset of study (baseline), again at 3 months, and then at 6 months.
The intervention group showed statistically significant improvements in dizziness symptoms compared with the usual care group. Further, the internet-based vestibular rehabilitation group also had significantly lower dizziness-related disability at 3 and 6 months
According to the authors of the study, the trial had demonstrated that online vestibular rehabilitation can be effective in reducing dizziness symptoms and dizziness-related disability in primary care patients. Offering an online based intervention to adults with dizziness could “provide a promising means of greatly increasing the provision of evidence-based self-management strategies for older adults in primary care”.
Geraghty AWA, Essery R, Kirby S, et al. Internet-based vestibular rehabilitation for older adults with chronic dizziness: a randomized controlled trial in primary care. Ann Fam Med. 2017; 15 (3): 209-216.
*featured image courtesy Phillips