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What is Balance Problems?

Balance problems are the leading cause of injuries in adults. Balance is a crucial part of everyday life for all so, stability is critical at any age. Balance Problems include a wide range of symptoms, from dizziness to light-headedness. Your muscles, bones, and joints (musculoskeletal system), visual senses, hearing, central nervous system, and blood and heart vessels must work normally for you to have a normal balance. When one or more of these systems get out of whack, you may experience Balance Problem symptoms. The simplest things like walking, riding a bike, or even playing can become difficult and frustrating. Most Balance Problems result from problems in your inner ear (vestibular system). Also, many medical conditions can cause Balance Problems.


Symptoms

If your balance is impaired, you may feel as if your head is spinning. You may stagger when you try to walk or fall when you try to stand up. Some of the symptoms you might experience are:

  • Dizziness or vertigo (a spinning sensation)
  • Falling or feeling as if you are going to fall
  • Light-headedness, faintness, or a floating sensation
  • Blurred vision
  • Confusion or disorientation

Other symptoms are nausea and vomiting, diarrhoea, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, fear, anxiety, or panic. Some people also feel tired, depressed, or unable to concentrate. Symptoms may come and go over brief time periods or last for longer periods of time.


Causes

A balance disorder may be caused by viral or bacterial infections in the ear, a head injury, or blood circulation disorders that affect the inner ear or brain. Many people experience problems with their sense of balance as they get older. Balance Problems and dizziness can also result from taking certain medications.

In addition, problems in the visual and skeletal systems and the nervous and circulatory systems can be the source of some posture and Balance Problems. A circulatory system disorder, such as low blood pressure, can lead to a feeling of dizziness when we suddenly stand up. Problems in the skeletal or visual systems, such as arthritis or eye muscle imbalance, can also cause Balance Problems. However, many balance disorders begin suddenly with no obvious cause.


Treatment

Although dizziness is a common symptom, living with this problem can significantly impact a person's lifestyle and function. Traditionally, dizziness has been treated with medication but many patients with Balance Problems rely on adaptive equipment such as straight canes or walkers. Today, a variety of new treatment opportunities exist for people with balance and dizziness disorders.

Physical Therapy

Vestibular physical therapy utilizes specialized exercises to address specific areas of the individual's dizziness/balance disorder. The patient’s goals for this specific rehabilitation will vary, depending on the type, cause, and duration of the condition. Our Physical Therapist at New York, Wall Street, Upper East Side, and Astoria works with each individual patient to develop programs to meet their specific needs.