Staying Steady with Physical Therapy

Wednesday, September 9, 2020

For 23 years VEDA (Vestibular Disorder Association) has celebrated Balance Awareness week to help broaden the public’s understanding of balance-related vestibular disorders. According to VEDA, 1 in 5 Americans suffer from vestibular disfunction.

When we see patients, many have suffered from balance issues for years and have gone undiagnosed and untreated. Often with seniors, practitioners write it off as a natural part of aging. Although it is true that we can lose our balance as we age, in most cases there is an underlying condition that can worsen our balance.

THERE ARE THREE MAIN SYSTEMS IN OUR BODIES THAT AFFECT OUR BALANCE

These systems are known as peripheral sources that send signals to our brain. They include our eyes (sight), our muscles and joints, and our vestibular organs (inner ear). If one system is not functioning correctly or sending the correct signals, your balance, ability to walk, talk and even your ability to think can be impacted.

Symptoms can consist of dizziness, spinning or a feeling of being in motion (also known as vertigo), vision changes including blurriness, becoming lightheaded, unsteadiness, feeling like you are falling or are going to fall, and confusion.

TREATMENT FOR BALANCE ISSUES WILL DEPEND ON THE SOURCE OF THE PROBLEM

At Mid America Rehab, our physical therapists treat a wide array of balance disorders and symptoms related to them including:

• Vestibular abnormalities of the inner ear

• Nerve damage to your legs and feet (peripheral neuropathy)

• Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

• Meniere’s disease

• Vestibular migraines

• Tinnitus

• Muscle and joint weakness

• Neurological conditions such as cervical spondylosis and Parkinson's disease

• Other medical conditions including those recovering from COVID-19

WHAT SHOULD YOU DO IF YOU THINK YOU R SOMEONE YOU LOVE IS EXPERIENCING SIGNS OF BALANCE LOSS OR DYSFUNCTION?

The most important thing you can do is speak up. Communicate your concerns to friends, family, and your physician. At Mid America Rehab, all of our clinics offer FREE balance screenings. If you think you may have a balance deficit, our therapists can help. They share years of experience and specialized training in vestibular disorders and certification in the LSVT BIG program for Parkinson’s. Your physical therapist can help create a plan that can include a home exercise program to help patients maintain their gains from physical therapy and often improve their balance outside of the clinic setting.

Loss of balance can keep us from being active and experiencing life. I think we have all had quite enough of being limited in the year 2020! Call the Mid America Rehab clinic near you to schedule your FREE balance screening! You can heal. We can help!

*There are medications and other medical conditions involving the heart and blood vessels that can also cause symptoms that may affect your balance. Consult your physician if you experience symptoms including dizziness, lightheadedness, unsteadiness, or spinning.