At some point in our lives many of us will experience some decrease in our ability to maintain balance. Some causes of balance deficits can be, injury or surgery on a lower extremity, trauma to the brain such as a fall, car accident or stroke, general weakness from illness or aging and vestibular (inner ear) causes. Your doctor may perform some tests in his office to determine the cause of your balance deficits. Some of these tests include:
Hearing tests. Difficulties with hearing are frequently associated with balance problems.
Posturography test. Wearing a safety harness, you try to remain standing on a moving platform. A posturography test indicates which parts of your balance system you rely on most.
Blood pressure and heart rate tests. Your blood pressure might be checked when sitting and then after standing for two to three minutes to determine if you have significant drops in blood pressure. Your heart rate might be checked when standing to help determine if a heart condition is causing your symptoms.
Dix-Hallpike maneuver. Your doctor carefully turns your head in different positions while watching your eye movements to determine if you have a false sense of motion or spinning.
Imaging tests. MRI and CT scans can determine if underlying medical conditions might be causing your balance issues.
Dependent on what your doctor determines is the cause of your balance or dizziness problems they may order further treatment. These can include:
Balance retraining exercises (vestibular rehabilitation). Therapists trained in balance problems design a customized program of balance retraining and exercises. Therapy can help you compensate for imbalance, improve your reactions to loss of balance and maintain physical activity. To prevent falls, your therapist might recommend a balance aid, such as a walker, and ways to reduce your risk of falls in your home.
Positioning procedures. If you have BPPV, a therapist might conduct a procedure (canalith repositioning) that clears particles out of your inner ear and deposits them into a different area of your ear.
Medications. If you have severe vertigo that lasts hours or days, you might be prescribed medications that can control dizziness and vomiting.
Imbalance can lead to falls and injury which can change quality of life, lead to surgeries and potential loss of independence. Awareness of your, or a loved one’s, decrease in steadiness or strength and taking appropriate action is essential for the prevention of falls.
If you have been diagnosed with Vertigo or any other balance disorder or are currently experiencing balance problems, please come see us for a free consultation to see how we can assist you in your recovery. To request an appointment, click here, or call directly to one of our three locations during regular business hours:
Cool Springs: 615-224-9810
Spring Hill: 931-489-2022