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Physical therapy for balance disorders

What is a balance disorder?

The term “balance disorder” refers to a number of conditions that cause frequent or constant dizziness or unsteadiness. Certain underlying health conditions, medications, or problems in the brain or inner ear can all cause balance disorders.

One’s sense of balance relies on signals between the brain, eyes, ears, and muscles in the legs. A problem with any one of these systems can result in a balance disorder, which is why it can sometimes be very difficult to identify the cause of (or correct) a balance disorder.

Balance disorders manifest themselves in different ways depending on the patient and the underlying cause. Some patients may experience prolonged, intense dizziness, while others may experience fleeting fainting spells.

Source: NIH

Balance disorder symptoms

Patients with balance disorders often feel that the room is spinning or that they may fall down. These sensations can occur whether the patient is sitting, lying down, or standing up, though patients who are standing when the symptoms begin can sometimes find some relief by sitting or lying down.

Because balance disorders range widely in type and severity, no two patients experience the same collection of symptoms. While some patients might experience debilitating bouts of dizziness for hours at a time, others might experience frequent, short periods of lightheadedness.

The most common symptoms of balance disorders include:

  • Vertigo
  • Faintness
  • Loss of balance
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Confusion

Source: MayoClinic

What causes balance disorders?

It can be difficult to identify the exact cause of any given balance disorder, as they can be caused by a diverse array of conditions. Generally, the underlying cause is related to the most pervasive sign or symptom of the disorder. Patients with persistent vertigo, for example, often have a problem in the inner ear or brain; an inner ear virus or a concussion can both produce this symptom.

Patients who experience frequent bouts of faintness or lightheadedness, on the other hand, tend more often to have underlying conditions which affect blood pressure, like hypotension or cardiovascular disease. Loss of balance can be attributed to joint, muscle, or vision problems, or to certain medications or underlying conditions.

The most common causes of balance disorders include:

  • Medications
  • Neurological conditions
  • Injury or infection in the inner ear
  • Low blood pressure
  • Cardiovascular disease
  • Joint or muscle problems

Source: MayoClinic

Physical therapy for balance disorders

A licensed physical therapist will typically work with patients to implement a treatment program designed for their own specific needs. Most balance disorder physical therapy plans are made up of a combination of mobility, strengthening, flexibility, and balancing exercises, along with key lifestyle changes.

For example, a physical therapist will likely survey your home for falling hazards such as sharp furniture or uneven flooring, and he/she may suggest that you increase your activity level.

Source: Move Forward PT

Luna’s physical therapists treat
balance disorders

Luna employs physical therapists that specialize in treating patients with balance disorders. Our PTs can help these patients regain confidence in their ability to walk without falling and return to the activities they enjoy — quickly and safely.

The best part? With Luna, patients can receive physical therapy for balance disorders at home. Our physical therapists come to you — it’s physical therapy, delivered.

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