Gait and balance disorders
There are several different types of balance disorders. If your balance is impaired, you may feel as if the room is spinning, and you may stagger when you try to walk or fall when you try to stand up.
One of the most common balance disorders is vertigo. Sufferers may experience a brief but intense feeling of dizziness or motion when standing still. This can occur when getting up out of a chair, getting out of bed in the morning, or when looking upwards. An inner ear infection, head injury or aging can cause these symptoms.
Labyrinthitis is another type of balance disorder which is caused by an infection or inflammation of the inner ear. Loss of balance and dizziness are the usual symptoms.
Ménière’s disease, a change in fluid volume within parts of the labyrinth, causes episodes of vertigo, ringing or buzzing, hearing loss and a feeling of fullness in the ear.
Other symptoms of balance disorders are nausea and vomiting, blurred vision, lightheadedness, depression and confusion. Symptoms may come and go over short time periods or last for longer periods of time.
Individual treatment will vary based upon symptoms, medical history and results of an examination and tests.
Treatments for balance disorders usually target symptoms directly, as this will help reduce the severity of any subsequent episode. Inner ear issues can be treated with certain exercises such as physical maneuvers. In this type of treatment, the head may be moved in such a way as to reposition calcium carbonate crystals (which are mis-positioned) to give relief from the symptoms of imbalance.
Exercises are also used as a remedy to vertigo. The therapist will develop a specific treatment plan targeted to head and body exercises that will alleviate the symptoms associated with these disorders.