The Effect of Off Vertical Axis and Multiplanar Vestibular Rotational Stimulation on Balance Stability and Limits of Stability

F R Carrick

Guido Pagnacco

Elena Oggero

Matthew M Antonucci

Susan Elizabeth Esposito

Derek Barton

James Duffy

Background: Off vertical axis and multiplane whole body vestibular rotational therapy has received great attention by major network television and press subsequent to its utilization in the treatment of sports concussions and other traumatic brain injuries that result in neurological challenges to balance and gait. We desired to test the therapy in isolation from other therapies customarily used in a brain and vestibular rehabilitation center.  

Methods: Volunteer human subjects underwent postural evaluations to ascertain the characteristics of maintained head position/posture in the yaw and pitch planes. Based on this evaluation, normal human subjects were randomized to one of four groups based on head pitch and yaw. Each subject was then randomly assigned to a vestibular whole body rotational montage specific stimulation group. Immediate and time referenced pre and post-computerized dynamic posturographic measurements were compared.

Conclusion: Vestibular activation in a multiplane whole body rotational devise has a modest but significant beneficial effect on the stability of the subjects as measured by the Stability Score and the Normalized 95% Confidence Ellipse Area. However, this beneficial effect appears to be temporary and disappears within one day. Neither the evaluation nor the stimulation had a significant effect on the limit of stability suggesting that the evaluation methodology adopted in this study was not sufficient to properly decide the direction and type of rotational stimulation and that this therapy is not a stand alone treatment. We recommend that this type of therapy not be utilized in isolation of other rehabilitation strategies.

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