Balance Disorders

What is a Balance Disorder?

A balance disorder is an abnormal condition in which an individual disrupts the coordination of the eyes, body, and head. It can be caused by a variety of different conditions, including inner ear disorders, stroke, head injury, some medications, and more. As a result, individuals may experience unsteadiness, dizziness, vertigo, and nausea, among other symptoms.

Types of Balance Disorders

Some of the most common types of balance disorders include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
  • Vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis
  • Meniere’s disease
  • Migraine-associated vertigo
  • Perilymphatic fistula
  • Acoustic neuroma

Treatment for Balance Disorders

The type of treatment for a balance disorder will depend on the individual and the underlying cause. Common treatment options may include:

  • Habituation exercises – These help to reduce dizziness by retraining the inner ear’s reaction to movement or positioning.
  • Vestibular rehabilitation exercises – These exercises help to improve balance and coordination by strengthening weakened muscle groups around the spine and joints.
  • Medication – Various medications such as antibiotics, antivirals, or anti-seizure drugs may be prescribed to treat the underlying cause of the balance disorder.
  • Surgery – In some cases, a surgical procedure such as a vestibular nerve section or a labyrinthectomy may be performed to correct the underlying condition.

Living With a Balance Disorder

Living with a balance disorder can be challenging, but there are steps you can take to improve your symptoms and manage the condition. These include:

  • Wearing low heal shoes or shoes with non-slip soles to help improve balance
  • Using assistive devices such as walkers, canes, or wheelchairs if needed
  • Incorporating balance and strength exercises into your daily routine
  • Eating a balanced diet and avoiding medications that might worsen your condition
  • Talking to your doctor about lifestyle changes that may help improve your symptoms