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Vestibular Disorders & Balance Problems

Treatment for Vestibular Disorders & Balance Problems

Vestibular Disorders & Balance Problems

Do you suffer from balance problems, orthostatic intolerance, dizziness, Vertigo, Tinnitus, Lightheadedness, mal debarquement syndrome, Post-Concussion symptoms, or a vestibular disorder?

Vestibular disorders and balance problems are common symptoms many people suffer from. These symptoms are often caused by neurological deficits. Dizziness, vertigo, and orthostatic intolerance can present when there is abnormal functional connectivity between the vestibular system and the autonomic nervous system.

Vestibular disorders disrupt the brain’s ability to detect and process movement. Motion is detected and relayed to the brain when gravity exerts a force on the peripheral vestibular apparatus. The pull of gravity changes as the body moves and changes postural positions.

Proper detection of our bodies moving in gravity is vital for every activity we do as human beings. When the autonomic nervous system receives inaccurate signals from the vestibular system it becomes difficult to carry out normal tasks such as standing upright without getting lightheaded or dizzy and even more difficult to think clearly or control emotions as usual. It’s clear that vestibular disorders also cause secondary neurological deficits in pathways that control, learning, memory, cognition, and mood changes.

Vestibular pathways must fire into all brain structures so that we can constantly know where we are in space. Since the vestibular system sends information to many brain structures it can be used to rehabilitate neurological conditions that seem unrelated to balance problems and vestibular disorders.

The vestibular system detects motion of the head in space and in turn generates reflexes that are crucial for our daily activities, such as stabilizing the visual axis (gaze) and maintaining head and body posture.

In addition, the vestibular system provides us with our subjective sense of movement and orientation in space. Higher Cortical center also receives vestibular input which is essential for generating spacial maps to coordinate accurate and intended motor response. The vestibular system provides us with our subjective sense of where our body is in relation to where our environment is. These pathways communicate messages to our conscious brain allowing us to produce purposeful accurate movements as well as unconscious reflexive movements which are all apart of our everyday life. It can only be expected that balance problems become a major issue in patients with Vestibular disorders.

Vestibular rehabilitation is designed to remap neuron connections by recalibrating the way the brain senses gravity through the vestibular system. As people move around in the world, transitioning from lying down to standing, running, or playing sports, it is the vestibular-otolithic system’s job to sense any changes in gravity and relay that information to the cardiac and respiratory system. The vestibular system then relays the message to the autonomic nervous system to adapt and change the heart rate, blood supply, and blood pressure to meet the current demands on the body in reference to gravity. These pathways are complex and the signals can get damaged or disrupted at multiple locations in the brain.

Signs that you may suffer from a vestibular disorder, Balance Problems & Abnormal Spacial orientation

  • Difficulty walking straight or when turning without stumbling or tripping over things
  • balance prpblems, Clumsiness; Bump into things
  • Poor coordination with your hand and feet
  • Find it difficult to maintain a straight posture
  • your head may be tilted or angulated to the side, even though you perceive your head is center
  • you have a tendency to look downward to confirm the location of the ground
  • A tendency to touch or hold onto something when standing, indication problems in the calibration/ sensitivity of the otoliths (vestibula inner ear) to subtle changes in gravity
  • A tendency to touch or hold the head while seated indicates problem with you vestibular ocular reflex
  • Sensitivity to changes in walking surfaces or footwear
  • Difficulty walking in the dark or unstable surfaces like sand
  • Muscle and joint pain or muscular injuries (due to difficulty balancing)
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