Balance and Vestibular issues often go hand in hand.
Vestibular means pertaining to balance. The vestibular system is part of the inner ear and gives feedback to the brain about straight-linear and rotational movement of the head.
We often see balance issues particularly in patients who are 65 years of age and older. Often this is related to muscle weakness secondary to illness and/or inactivity.
There are many concerns related to balance. When you consider that our brains have to filter information received from our eyes and our hearing. When sight or hearing have declined, this can disrupt how the brain interprets information.
When hearing and sight have both declined, the brain receives conflicting information, it creates confusion and the brain tries to correct. The overall result of this over-correction leads to many of the symptoms below.
- Vertigo: A feeling as if you are spinning with little or no movement at all.
- Lightheadedness (wooziness): Feeling as if you may pass out.
- Motion Sickness: Feeling nauseous or even vomiting due to the motion.
- Disequilibrium: Feeling of unsteadiness, tripping or dragging feet. (This is one of the most common symptoms and of the greatest to be concerned with due to safety concerns.)
- Behavioral: Closely associated with emotion, such as a fear of falling.
In some cases, hearing loss can be a viral issue.
Though issues in the vestibular area are most common in those 65 and older, these issues can actually affect people of all ages. If you have played a sport and suffered a concussion, there is a good possibility that vestibular function of the inner ear may be compromised. If you have fallen or had a blow to the head, there could be lasting effects.
If you or your child were born prematurely, there may be a compromise in the vestibular system. This can delay physical development of the child and potentially cause learning disabilities, ADD or ADHD.
As for treatment, with many conditions, this may include work on desensitizing the vestibular system, increasing activation where function is lacking and helping the visual and vestibular system to work better together. Our physical therapist work on strength, gait, coordination to improve balance and reduced the risk of falls.
At b Services, we understand balance and vestibular issues and provide a safe environment with highly trained physical therapists and the use of our overhead safety system to help patients feel safe and free from falls.