The Causes of Balance Disorders
As your body ages, it naturally becomes harder to balance on your own two feet. Aging however, does not always account for the causes of balance disorder, which are relatively common issues that can often be treated with the help of physical therapy. Balance disorders are typically caused by one of the four following issues:
- Disturbances of the inner ear – When there is a disturbance of the inner ear, it is called a peripheral balance problem. This may be caused by viral or bacterial infection, blood circulation issues, medication, or aging.
- Problems with the connecting nerves of the inner ear – Head injuries and disorders such as multiple sclerosis and migraines can cause problems in the connecting nerves of the inner ear and the way that the brain receives signals from the inner ear.
- Systemic disorders – Examples of these are thyroid problems and diabetes.
- Blood flow problems – Examples of these are low blood pressure or cardiac arrhythmia.
Most common types of balance disorders
Balance disorders can happen to anyone, but the causes most often stem from four relatively common conditions. The most common types of balance disorders are Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, Labyrinthitis, Vestibular Neuritis, and Meniere’s Disease.
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo
Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, or BPPV is a disorder where you experience short episodes of vertigo when you move your head in certain directions. People with the disorder may have problems getting out of bed and rolling over in bed. Also, some people will feel dizzy when they tip their head back to look up. In this disorder, tiny crystals of calcium carbonate shift from their proper place in the balance organ and collect as debris within another part. When you move your head, the crystals move. This sends incorrect signals to the brain about how you are moving.
Labyrinthitis is an inner ear infection. It results in a structure called the labyrinth becoming inflamed. This can affect hearing and balance.
Vestibular Neuritis is an infection of the vestibular nerve of the inner ear. It causes the vestibular nerve to get inflamed, resulting in a disrupted sense of balance.
Meniere’s Disease is a rare disorder that causes problems in the inner ear. It may cause vertigo, tinnitus, hearing loss, and a sensation of pressure deep within the ear.
How Can Physical Therapy Help Balance Disorders?
Once your doctor identifies what is causing your balance disorder, you’ll often be recommended to undergo physical therapy to help get your balance back. Physical therapists offer several options for treating balance problems. Your physical therapist can help you:
Reduce Your Fall Risk
Your physical therapist will assess your footwear and hazards in your home that contribute to balance problems or falling.
Reduce Fear of Falling
You will learn how to enjoy your daily activities by building confidence in your balance and physical ability.
Your physical therapist will develop a treatment and exercise program to slowly build your strength and movement skills.
Your physical therapist will show you exercises for keeping your balance when you are still and when you are moving. She will progressively intensify the exercise routine as your skills improve.
Your physical therapist will show you exercises to improve general muscle strength, as well as specific problem areas.
Improve Flexibility and Posture
Your physical therapist will work with you on stretching your muscles and maintaining proper posture.
Increase Activity Levels
Your physical therapist will address activity goals with you and design an exercise routine to bring then about.
Once you are done with your treatment, your physical therapist may recommend that you move to another group to continue to develop your abilities. If you’re looking for treatment to help with balance issues, don’t hesitate to call Biomotion Physical Therapy today!