A balance disorder is a disturbance that causes an individual to feel unsteady, woozy, giddy, or have a sensation of movement, spinning, or floating. There are multiple systems in the body that help control proper balance, these include: the vestibular system (inner ear), the visual system (eyes), the skeletal system (bones and joints) and the nervous system (brain and nerves). The vestibular system works with the visual system in order to keep objects in focus while the head is moving, and maintaining balance. Joint and muscle receptors constantly relay information of where they are in order to regulate muscle tone for stability. The brain receives, interprets, and processes the information from all of these systems and directs the body to perform specific actions to maintain balance.
When one or more of the systems involved with balance become impaired, it becomes more difficult for an individual to maintain their balance and orientation. For example, an individual may experience the “room spinning” and may not be able to walk without staggering, or may not even be able to arise. Some symptoms of a person with a balance disorder may experience are:
- A sensation of dizziness or vertigo (spinning)
- Loss of balance (falling) or a feeling of falling
- Lightheadedness or feelings of being woozy
- Visual blurring
- Nausea or vomiting
- Changes in heart rate and blood pressure
- Anxiety or panic
There are many causes that could lead to impaired balance. Infections, certain medications, head injuries, auto accidents, lack of blood circulation, tumors, brain disorders, muscle weakness of the eyes, and misalignment of the spine (subluxation) are a few. When more than one system involved with balance is affected, the signals that are carried throughout the nervous system to the brain give conflicting information. This generally leads to motion sickness, for instance when an individual tries to read while riding in a car). Some symptoms of motion sickness are dizziness, sweating, nausea, and vomiting. Many experts divide the balance disorders into four categories:
- Peripheral vestibular disorder – Disturbance of the inner ear
- Central vestibular disorder – Disturbance in the brain or its connecting nerves, including the eyes
- Systemic disorder – Disturbance of the body (bones, joints, and muscles) other than the head or brain
- Vascular disorder – Disturbance in blood flow
At The Hayden Institute, when a patient presents with symptoms related to any balance disorder, a thorough exam is performed. Every major nerve in the body is evaluated in order to determine if the symptoms are being caused by a central vestibular disorder. Blood pressure in multiple positions, as well as standard orthopedic tests are performed in order to rule out vascular cause. A comprehensive chiropractic examination of the spine, including x-rays when necessary evaluate the spinal integrity, looking for misalignments. Specific eye and ear exams are also performed to distinguish between vestibular or visual system involvement.
After determining the cause of the balance disorder, we decide with the patient if he/she is in the right place. Even though we have had the privilege to see many people benefit from our services, sometimes it is best to work together with another health care professional in order to better serve the patient.
Through the use of Quantum Neurology™ Rehabilitation we are able to rehabilitate the specific neurological weakness that is presenting with the ears, eyes, and nervous system. Combining Quantum Neurology™ Rehabilitation and gentle chiropractic adjustments, we are able to enhance the communication between the bones, joints, and muscles of the body so that conflicting signals in the nerves begin to send proper signals. Nutritional and dietary changes may also be advised in order to improve circulation to the target areas of the body.
Come in, or refer your friends and loved ones that are experiencing disturbances with their balance, and let us be of service today!