Welcome to Nicola Harris & Associates a physiotherapy clinic specialising in vestibular rehabilitation.
What is vestibular rehabilitation?
Vestibular rehabilitation is a type of physiotherapy specifically designed to treat patients suffering from vertigo, dizziness, nausea and loss of balance. The treatment is exercise-based and the exercises used have been proven to promote central nervous system compensation for a balance disorder.
Understanding your balance problem?
In order for us to maintain our balance, as well as relying on sensory information from the balance organs in our inner ears, we also rely on our vision, the sensors on the soles of our feet and our joints. These sensors send complementary information about where our head and body is in space to the balance centres in the brain. This information is essential for the maintenance of balance. If the information from either our balance organs or the brain’s coordinating pathways is incorrect then the result maybe dizziness, nausea, vomiting and imbalance. Although this condition can be quite frightening and you may feel anxious, it is not usually serious or life threatening.
The most common causes of imbalance and dizziness include:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – tiny crystals inside the balance organs become loose which causes brief attacks of vertigo precipitated by head movement.
- Ménière’s disease – an abnormality of the fluid in the inner ear which can cause hearing loss, tinnitus, vertigo, fullness in the ear and imbalance.
- Vestibular neuritis (labyrinthitis) – a virus or infection that can damage the balance organs causing vertigo, nausea, vomiting and imbalance.
- Acoustic neuroma – a rare benign tumour around the ear that can lead to hearing and balance problems.
- Migraine-related balance disorders causing vertigo and imbalance.
- Persistent Postural-Perceptual Dizziness (PPPD) – a condition of chronic dizziness arising out of vestibular disorders.
- Age-related changes.
- Head injuries.
What can we do to help?
Here at the central London clinic Nicola Harris & Associates carry out a thorough assessment to establish the root of your problem before devising a customised programme of balance exercises to help resolve your symptoms.
Your treatment programme will include special exercises designed for your condition. You will sometimes be given dietary and lifestyle advice.
If you have BPPV this can be treated with a simple head manoeuvre called the Epley’s manoeuvre.
You will be advised to practise your exercises regularly at home and in some cases, only one appointment at the clinic will be necessary. However, some conditions take several months to treat and you will need to visit your physiotherapist approximately once or twice a month.
Nicola Harris & Associates takes referrals from consultants, GPs and other medical professionals as well as self-referrals and we treat a large number of medico-legal patients.
Nicola Harris is one of the leading providers of vestibular rehabilitation in the UK and highly respected in this field. She also provides her expertise to the NHS at a Regional Balance Centre in the South East. Read the about us page for more information about Nicola.
- I had suffered from Vestibular Neuritis for months which resulted in loss of balance, several falls, being unable to drive and general lack of confidence. Within 2 weeks of my initial appointment with Nicola by using her exercise regime I no longer needed a walking stick and my self confidence began to return.Unfortunately I was unable to attend my second appointment because of the arrival of Coronavirus, however the session by phone instead was extremely helpful. I was taught all the follow up exercises I needed until my next session, where ever it may be! Despite the current crisis as a result of my treatment my life seems so much more positive.
As a Marketing professional in the hospitality industry, my life ran at a thousand miles an hour. Until last April when my head and a sink got very well acquainted after I fainted in my bathroom. This resulted in a condition called Post-Concussion Syndrome, a damaged Vestibular System and, apparently, a fun ride in an ambulance, but I sadly don’t remember that.
You cannot imagine how life-changing a head injury can be until you experience it. Or how long, scary and frustrating the road to recovery is. It it one that demands a truly trusted, calm guide to help. Nicola Harris and Associates have expertly navigated me along my road to recovery providing me with knowledge, practical strategies and, above all, the positive reassurance that has enabled me to process and understand my situation.
My speech, my cognitive processing power, my vision, my memory, my executive thinking, control of my moods, and my awareness was downgraded to dodgy dial-up internet compared to my usual super-fast fibre-optic speed. When I first came to Nicola, I was freaked out. I didn’t know if I’d would get better. She instantly helped me understand that my recovery was going to be a balancing act between exercise, adaptations and the medication. In getting all elements of my condition, such as mirgaines, fatigue and balance, under control you are able to then to progress.
I remember leaving my initial consultation with my first list of balancing exercises thinking finally something practical to do after months of assessments and waiting. It gave my life an element of routine again that I desperately missed and, from there, every session acted as a benchmark giving me a solid foundation to build on.
If you are experiencing anything like the above, don’t fret. Nicola and her team provide practical strategies and advice that help improve and adapt your situation to enable recovery. Having a person on your recovery team that is able to answer your questions and provide guidance from a wealth of experience is invaluable. Every session I leave a little more confident and a little bit more like the old me.
“I had my first session with Nicola today. Unfortunately I was unable to attend the session in person as my family is under self isolation. However, Nicola was able to carry out the session on FaceTime! Nicola was very instructive and incredible helpful and was able to prescribe a series of exercises for me to complete. The whole session ran smoothly and it was great to be able to do the session in the comfort on my pjs!”
I had been suffering from a feeling of unsteadiness and pulling sensations along with loss of confidence in my legs ability to balance me for approx 18 months until i visited Nicola Harris. At my first appointment Nicola gave me a full assessment and explained to me in understandable terms what was going on in my nervous system, brain and balance center to cause these symptoms and why they had become chronic.
After then giving me instructions on exercises to undertake on a daily basis i went away and focused on completing them as requested. I very quickly started to see improvement over the first 4 weeks and then ongoing over several months. I am now about 90% improved after 6 months from my initial state which was causing me dreadful problems in my daily life. I cant recommend Nicola highly enough as she has given me back so much when i was starting to doubt i would ever be normal again.
I sustained a nasty head injury in December 2013 and was referred to Nicola Harris several weeks later. I had been feeling extremely unwell and was frustrated at being unable to work and unable to undertake many normal, everday activities. From the outset, Nicky was caring, personable and optimistic, particularly when I was feeling miserable and could not see any improvement in my condition. Nicky has had me follow a programme of vestibular exercises over the months, and under her professional guidance I am now well on the road to recovery and about to return to work.
I have been very impressed with the quality of care I have received from Nicky and cannot thank her enough for her patient, well-paced and extremely helpful advice. I am hoping that I won’t have to make too many more appointments with her now, but I do know that if I need her, she will make time for me. A truly wonderful health professional.