13 September 2017 Comments Off on Balance Awareness Week

Balance Awareness Week

balanceheAs you get older, you may begin to notice that your balance isn’t quite as good as it was when you were younger. You may also experience dizziness, brain fog, or other symptoms. You may even see these symptoms as normal aging. It is estimated that one out of every twenty Australian adults will experience these symptoms. It is true that aging does affect the inner ear, but dizziness and vertigo are not normal at any age.

Dizziness and vertigo can have a variety of possible cause, making them difficult to diagnose. For many sufferers, vestibular symptoms are chronic and life-altering, but they don’t need to be.

Balance and the Vestibular System

Most people already know that the inner ear is responsible for balance, but the vestibular system involves more than the inner ear, and is responsible for more than just balance. The vestibular system also involves the eyes and certain parts of the brain. Symptoms of problems in the vestibular system can include:

  • Dizziness or vertigo – This may involve feelings of lightheadedness motion sickness, or sensations of being pulled or of spinning, rocking, or floating. These symptoms may occur with movement, when in certain positions, or when still.
  • Balance issues – This may include stumbling, difficulty walking in a straight line, difficulty turning when walking, postural problems, a need to look at the ground or stabilize oneself on objects, difficulty adjusting to different surfaces, and problems navigating in low light. Balance problems may also cause pain in joints or muscles due to compensating.
  • Vision problems – This could include problems with focus, especially on objects at a distance, trouble with reading or tracking moving objects, feeling overwhelmed in business environments, and sensitivity to fluorescent lights or electronics.
  • Changes in hearing – Including distortion or fluctuations in hearing, ringing in the ears, and sensitivity to loud sounds.
  • Changes in cognition – This may include trouble concentrating, difficulties with comprehension, forgetfulness, or confusion. These symptoms may be more pronounced in busy environments.

Other vestibular symptoms can include ear pain, headaches, nausea, or slurred speech. Problems in the vestibular system can lead to anxiety, social isolation, depression, and loss of confidence or self-esteem.

Vestibular Symptoms – Causes and Treatments

Treating these symptoms effectively depends on accurate diagnosis. Causes can range from stress or dehydration to poor circulation to complex neurological disorders, but most cases of balance issues are easily treated. Some of the most common (and easily treated) causes include:

Musculoskeletal misalignments – Many people think of misalignments as causing pain and stiffness, not issues with balance or other vestibular symptoms. When one part of the body is out of alignment, the rest of the body must compensate. This can lead to further misalignments, pain, and even problems with balance.

Mineral deposits – Tiny calcium crystals trapped in the inner ear can distort communication with the brain. There are manoeuvers that can help move these deposits away from the inner ear so they can be reabsorbed by the body.

Nutritional deficiencies – Dehydration and some nutrient deficiencies can cause dizziness or problems with balance. A dietitian can help you analyze your diet to identify and correct nutrient deficiencies that may be contributing to your symptoms.

Some cases of vestibular symptoms have more than one cause. In these cases, a multifaceted approach to treatment may be needed. The varied specialists at Chiropractic and Allied Health can work together to develop a treatment plan tailored to your unique needs. To get help with balance or any other injuries you might be carrying, call one of our practices now.


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