Understanding Balance Disorders: Dizziness & Vertigo

balance disorders

Most people don’t give balance much thought, and why would they? When everything is working as it should, a balance rarely becomes an issue. The average person doesn’t perform tasks on a daily basis that tests their balance, or do they? If you ask someone with a balance disorder, they may disagree, stating that even simple tasks like walking or standing require constant balance. Balance disorders and dizziness lead to as many as 10 million ambulatory care visits each year.

Dr. Habib Khan, lead Neurologist at the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography, specializes in diagnosing and treating patients with a range of balance disorders. His unique approach to treatment is back by years of dedicated research and firsthand experience. He understands that each patient has a unique condition that requires an equally unique treatment strategy. Let Dr. Khan provide his expert diagnosis and help restore your natural balance!

Where Does our Sense of Balance Come From?

Balance is a very complex sense that requires many of our major senses to work together and actively communicate with one another. The vestibular system, located in the ear, contains a series of direction tubes with fluid in them. As your head or body orientation changes, the fluid moves and interacts with small hairs, which send this directional information to the brain to be translated as position. 

While this information is being received, our brain is actively judging spatial awareness with our eyes, and providing the appropriate muscular and nervous response needed to hold this upright position, or adapt as your balance is tested. Therefore, if one of these systems becomes compromised, you can begin to suffer from a balance disorder. Imagine standing upright, but your vestibular system is sending signals that you are leaning or spinning. 

Balance Disorders and Chronic Dizziness

In some cases, temporary balance disorders arise due to ear infections or other underlying condition that’s easily treated. Other potential causes may require more extensive treatment and specialized therapy to help you regain your sense of steadiness. These include:

  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) – which is the most common cause of vertigo and occurs when calcium crystals in your inner ear that help control your balance move from their normal positions
  • Neuromuscular Disorders – such as diabetic neuropathy, that inhibit nerve function
  • Vestibular Neuritis – an inflammatory disorder believed to be caused by a virus affecting the nerves in the balance portion of your inner ear
  • Stroke or other cardiovascular problems

What is Vertigo?

Vertigo is not a condition, rather it is a symptom. Certain movements or actions can induce temporary feelings of vertigo, which are described as head-spinning or the odd sensation of feeling like the environment around you is moving even when you are standing still.

Vertigo is often wrongly associated with a fear of heights, known as acrophobia, which can cause people to experience bouts of dizziness when standing, near, or looking down from a high ledge.

Why Diagnosing Balance Disorders is Important?

Having your condition diagnosed can provide benefits that range from mild to life-saving. For some people, getting an accurate diagnosis offers the potential to have their balance disorder treated and restore their quality of life as no longer have to live with mild symptoms.

For those with moderate to severe symptoms, diagnosis and treatment could potentially be life-saving. Balance disorders can be unpredictable and episodes of extreme dizziness can develop without warning. If you are in a vulnerable location or performing a task that requires balance and coordination, you could be at risk of an accident that leads to injury or death. 

Whether your condition is mild or severe, you deserve to have confidence in your balance system and not live in fear or anxiety of when your next episode might hit you.

What Treatment Options Exist for Balance Disorders?

As mentioned above, Dr. Khan and his team offer treatment protocols that are uniquely designed for each patient’s needs. After receiving an accurate diagnosis, one or more of the following treatment methods will be implemented:

  • Vestibular rehabilitation – balance retraining exercises that use your visual/spatial senses to rewire and process information from the vestibular system. 
  • Canalith Repositioning Procedure – guided head movements for BPPV that repositions calcium particles in your ear
  • Medication – control dizziness, nausea, and vomiting

If you’re experiencing bouts of dizziness or other issues with balance, make an appointment today with Dr. Khan.

Balance Disorder Treatment Available in Casa Grande, Arizona

If you or a loved one are experiencing persistent balance concerns, dizziness, or vertigo, reach out to the specialists at the Arizona Institute of Neurology and Polysomnography for an accurate diagnosis and treatment plan! Call our offices to speak with a representative from our team or schedule an appointment online today!

Written by Web Admin