We don’t often think too hard about balance until something disrupts it. When you go about your daily life, you expect your body to regulate certain movements and keep you balanced so you don’t trip or fall over. However, an injury or condition can cause balance issues that can negatively impact your day and even become a safety concern. There are many causes for balance issues and a doctor can help determine what is affecting you. Part of managing balance issues may involve visiting a doctor for physical therapy to help you regain your sense of control over your movements and keep yourself upright.
How Does Your Balance Actually Work?
Structures inside the inner ear are actually what help you maintain your sense of balance. These structures are made up of bones, soft tissues, and fluid that all work together to make up the vestibular system. Certain injuries and disorders can disrupt the vestibular system and keep you from being able to maintain your balance. The vestibular system in the inner ear communicates with your eyes, muscles, joints, and brain to make you keep your balance. Your eyes, ears, and muscles tell your brain about your movements, and if one of these is disrupted in any way, you may end up feeling dizzy or off balance.
What Can Upset Your Balance?
There are many ways your balance can be disrupted from an injury, illness, or other medical condition. Here are five examples of what can upset your balance:
Dizziness can happen if you stand up too fast or turn around too quickly. Many people experience dizziness when riding amusement park rides and roller coasters. Dizziness can happen to anyone for a number of reasons and doesn’t have to be chronic. However, a dizzy spell can actually cause you to trip or fall, which can put you in harm’s way.
Vertigo is a severe type of dizziness where the room feels like it is spinning or unstable. Some people describe vertigo as the sensation of being on a boat, except that your feet are firmly planted on dry land. Vertigo can cause headaches, nausea, and other uncomfortable symptoms that make you feel unstable.
There are types of balance disorders and vestibular disorders that can be caused by inner ear issues, heart problems, and issues with circulation. If you experience chronic cases of dizziness, your doctor will want to assess you for a balance disorder to see what specifically is causing your dizzy spells.
A head injury can also upset your balance, especially if the vestibular system is damaged during the fall or accident. The inner ear is located close to the brain, and a traumatic brain injury that causes swelling and inflammation can also impact the structures of the inner ear. This can make it hard for you to keep your balance and walk without feeling like everything is spinning.
Certain medications have side effects that can include dizziness, vertigo, and other issues with balance. Talk to your doctor about the medications you are taking to determine if your balance issues are actually a side effect of your medication.
What Is Vestibular Physical Therapy?
Vestibular physical therapy is a type of physical therapy that utilizes specialized techniques and exercises to help with eye movements and stabilizing your gait. A physical therapist may use vestibular physical therapy to help with balance issues that are affecting your quality of life. Vestibular physical therapy can be beneficial for people recovering from an injury or accident that has caused vestibular system damage or chronic dizziness and instability. This type of treatment can also be beneficial in older adults who develop unsteadiness and loss of equilibrium with age.
How Can Vestibular Physical Therapy Help with Balance?
Vestibular physical therapy incorporates exercises that work with head movements to stimulate and retrain your vestibular system. Your physical therapist may walk you through certain eye, head, and shoulder movements that help your brain to regain control of your body’s balance and also help to minimize your dizzy symptoms. Certain exercises like bending forward and moving from sitting to standing can help to reset your equilibrium.
If you struggle with dizziness and feeling like you are off-balance, then talk to your doctor about what options are available to you. AICA Orthopedics in Snellville offers vestibular physical therapy for people having balance issues and want to regain full quality of life.