Vestibular Therapists: Manchester/North West region (UK)

Hi All, Does anyone know of a good vestibular therapist in the (UK) midlands or Manchester area? Thanks.

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I dont but I’m in contact with an NHS vestibular physio who calls me every 6 weeks. She’s based in Oxford and as I dont drive its awkward to see her in person as its so convoluted getting to her, although she’s offered to see me. She also emails exercises and links to videos I might find helpful. There are also loads of vestibular rehab exercises on Youtube.

Have you used the search function?

Thanks both.
@turnitaround, I searched for “therapists Manchester” which presumably would have missed Dr. Z.
Speaking as an ex-pat Mancunian, I think most people from Salford would be non-too happy at hearing their beloved city being referred to as “Salford, Manchester” ! (Lol). However, Helen was brilliant, bless her, and I miss her insights and wisdom. :slightly_smiling_face:

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No issues! Yeah, search can be pernickety! :sweat_smile: And in any case your Topic can be used to gather NW specialists going forward.

Yes! A great loss for us all :frowning: However I suspect she’s getting them all in order up there in the stars now :star2: :heart:

So, why was I looking for a vestibular therapist in the first place and how did I get on? Hopefully, others may benefit from my experience so here goes.

First of all, some background. I’ve suffered from a vestibular disorder for five years following a bout of labyrinthitis in 2018. I was initially diagnosed with a middle ear infection then “positional vertigo” and finally “incomplete compensation following acute labyrinthitis”. I managed the condition with Cawthorne-Cooksey exercises, following medical advice, and Betahistine. In May of this year, I was contacted by the Audiology Dept. of my local hospital who advised that I was being discharged as an outpatient as they said they’d done everything they could for me even though I still had symptoms.

This put me in a bit of a quandary: I still had dizziness type symptoms every day but no medical authority who could help. Since the NHS (I live in the UK) couldn’t do anything I decided to enlist the help of a vestibular therapist.

The next challenge was to find a suitable one. A web search identified a number of vestibular therapists many of whom work for conventional physiotherapists. This concerned me somewhat as I didn’t fancy signing up with someone who practiced the vestibular stuff as an adjunct to massaging muscles and joints. A solution was to look for therapists qualified in vestibular therapy. There are two appropriate qualifications (there may be more): membership of the Vestibular Disorders Association (VeDA) and Association of Chartered Physiotherapists in Vestibular Rehabilitation (ACPIVR). Of course, I don’t know if these qualifications are obtained by examination or simply by joining a professional body but they at least display an interest of sorts.

Another factor I used in drawing up a short list was means of contact. I have to confess to feeling a bit wary of businesses that offer only a mobile phone number for getting in touch. Nothing wrong with mobiles of course – most people have one – but for me a business relying on its communication with the outside world on a mobile phone does not suggest stability or reliability. And I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve phoned a tradesman’s mobile only for it to ring out unanswered or being invited to leave a voice mail message which is subsequently not returned.

My short list consisted of five therapists who appeared to fit the bill. Two of them I discounted on the grounds of distance. One of them sounded great: her web site described my symptoms to a ‘T’ but, unfortunately, she was based in London. The other, an “award winning”, dizziness and balance specialist, was located in West Yorkshire which would have meant a nearly four-hour round trip by car (I live in Staffordshire). I may well have to bite the “travel and expense” bullet on this one if my eventual choice of therapist doesn’t work out so I’m keeping these two in reserve.

Of the rest, there were a couple in Manchester (more accessible by road and rail) one of which was offering free telephone consultations. However, when I contacted them about this they said a personal consultation would be much more suitable. And at a cost of £200 I don’t doubt it!! They were also unable to confirm whether their staff had any qualifications in vestibular therapy.

Slightly nearer to home, I found Wilmslow Physio. Their vestibular therapist held the ACPIVR qualification and was happy to talk to me over the phone about my condition and whether she’d be able to help. Their rates were also more reasonable than the aforementioned Manchester practice. I duly booked a session with their vestibular therapist, Cathy.

My first session was last month and has yielded positive results already including a new diagnosis: persistent, postural, perceptual dizziness or triple P for short. PPPD has received a mixed response from the dizziness and balance community since it was first classified in 2017 (there are posts about it on the forum). For me, though, it at least provides the makings of a diagnosis whereas previously I had nothing other than the unhelpful “failure to compensate …”.

The other positive outcome was a fresh set of exercises to replace the Cawthorne-Cooksey stuff I’ve been doing three times a day (go on, sometimes I missed one) for the past four years. Cathy told me that these exercises are very old now and are not usually prescribed. The new exercises always stimulate a response from my vestibular system whereas the others did not.

So instead of doing three lots of CC three times a day for 10-15 minutes to very little effect, I now do one set of the new exercises for up to 10 minutes plus around 10 minutes of optokinetic work most days. It’s early days yet but I’m seeing slight improvements already and am optimistic that my overall condition will improve albeit slowly.

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