Balance problems are a common reason many older adults seek help from a healthcare provider. Fortunately, balance is a motor skill that, like any other, will get better the more you work on it.
Balance disorders are conditions that make you feel unsteady or dizzy while sitting, standing, or lying down. Oftentimes, you may feel like you are moving, spinning, or floating while doing everyday tasks, or even doing nothing at all.
What Causes Balance Disorders...
Balance disorders can be caused by a number of things, including:
- Muscle and joint weakness
- Ear Infections
- Head injuries
- Blood circulation problems including low or high blood pressure
- Chemical imbalances in the brain
- Neurological conditions
- Vestibular weakness
- Eye muscle weakness
Balance problems occur when one or more of these systems in the body do not function properly:
- Muscular system. Muscle strength and flexibility can decline due to lack of exercise, too much sitting, or disease.
- Vision. Poor vision can result from age, eye tracking problems, or eye diseases.
- Inner ear. The part of the inner ear responsible for balance is the vestibular system. Hence, inner ear problems that affect a person’s balance are also called vestibular problems. Inner ear problems can develop from trauma, aging, poor nutrition, or disease.
- Proprioception (the awareness of one's own body position). Body-position sense can become abnormal due to trauma or a disease, such as diabetes.
- Circulation. A sudden drop in blood pressure when a person sits or stands up can make a person feel dizzy or lightheaded. This may cause a person to faint and fall. Circulation problems can be caused by heart problems, dehydration, and some diseases.
When to Choose Physical Therapy...
Physical therapists are movement experts who can help you improve your strength, mobility, and balance. If you are concerned about your balance or have a balance disorder that is not caused by an underlying condition that requires medical treatment, you may choose physical therapy for balance training if:
- You have trouble moving safely by yourself
- You have been injured in a fall or have a history of falling
- You have had a stroke and now have balance problems
- You are an athlete recovering from an injury
- You have had surgery
- You have vertigo or dizziness, often linked to inner-ear disorders
If you have any chronic health conditions or have been injured, please consult with your doctor before beginning balance physical therapy as this therapy is a form of exercise.
Balance physical therapy can help you regain strength and improve your coordination to help you keep your independence and carry out daily tasks.
1st Choice Physical Therapists are Certified Master Level Balance Retrainers, uniquely trained in balance and vestibular therapy. They will work with you to develop a specific plan to meet your needs which will improve your balance and safety. Schedule an appointment today.