Symptoms of a Vestibular Disorder and What They Mean for Your Health
When we talk about balance, we are referring to your ability to control your body without movement against gravity. In other words, balance is your ability to keep your center of mass within the limits of your base support, whether this is static or dynamic. Stability, on the other hand, refers to your ability to control your body during movement. In other words, it is your ability to control forces, which might be unbalanced, in order to remain balanced.
Core stability is an integral part of a typical exercise regimen. The function of the core muscles is to save the spine from excessive load and to transfer force from the lower body to the upper body, and vice versa. Having a strong, stable core will help to prevent injuries and allow patients to perform at an optimal level. A physical therapist can help strengthen your core by recommending the right exercises like walking, swimming, and stretching. We can also supervise your therapy to make sure you are doing the exercises properly.
If you notice that your balance is off, especially if the issue is persistent, it is not something you will want to ignore. It could be that you are simply clumsy, but if the problem arises out of nowhere, it might be a sign of a more significant issue, such as a balance disorder. Balance disorders include a wide range of problems, from lightheadedness to feeling like you are in the middle of the ocean.
The vestibular system is what provides your sense of balance and the information about body position that allows for rapid compensatory movements in response to self-induced and external forces. There is a sensor in your ear that sends information to your brain that contributes to your sense of balance. There is a complex network of canals that make up the inner part of your ear. This network is called semicircular canals. It is filled with fluids that change with movement, and it is what makes up your vestibular system. If you have a vestibular balance disorder, you might notice the following symptoms:
- Coordination problems
- Difficulty walking in a dark room
- Leaning to the left or right when walking
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Stumbling or feeling unstable on your feet
- Sensitivity or difficulty with vision and hearing
Patients often get vestibular disorders from infections in the ear, problems with the immune system, and medications that hurt the inner ear. More rarely, it can also be from diabetes, stroke, or lack of blood flow to the inner ear. Most of the time, these are not life-threatening disorders but are due to a disorder of the inner ear balance system.
How Do You Restore Vestibular Balance?
The best way to restore vestibular balance is to undergo an exercise-based vestibular rehabilitation program. The goal of this form of therapy is to improve balance and reduce problems related to dizziness. At ProFysio Physical Therapy, we provide each patient who needs vestibular balance therapy with a comprehensive evaluation of their medical history, a discussion of their diagnosis, and treatment strategies to restore balance. We will perform specific tests like eye-head coordination tests, balance tests, and more. Every step of the way, we will be working to meet your individual needs, maximize your recovery, and help you restore balance for the years to come.
If you are having issues with balance, or you would like to learn more about physical therapy techniques, call ProFysio Physical Therapy at (732) 812-5200 or contact us online.