You know the feeling: struggling with daily tasks, stumbling in the dark, and fearing that you may fall and get hurt.
When left untreated, balance problems and disorders can cruelly disrupt your daily activities and put you at risk of dangerous (possibly life-threatening) falls.
Are you tired of balance problems ruling your life? Are you questioning if poor balance is something you’ll just have to “put up with” forever?
You’ve come to the right place. Take a breath of relief because you have more control over your balance than you think.
This is your ultimate guide to balance problems and how to overcome them.
Once you learn more about balance and how to improve it (no matter the cause), you can live a happier, more confident, and safer lifestyle.
Behind the Scenes: These Systems Help Us Balance
Have you ever wondered how our balance (or lack thereof) is controlled?
There are three main systems that work together to help us balance.
When there is an issue that prevents one or more of these systems from functioning properly, we can have trouble with daily tasks or certain movements. We might feel dizzy, unable to stay steady, or trouble perceiving the spatial orientation of things around us.
The Vestibular System
One of the most common reasons for dizziness is problems with the vestibular system.
Your vestibular system is located in your inner ears and gives you a sense of balance, head motion, and head position relative to gravity.
Your inner ear has three canals that contain Cochlear fluid. The Cochlear fluid helps you calculate the correct line of gravity according to the angle, weight, and velocity of your body.
The reason why you get dizzy when spinning around is because the Cochlear fluid is spinning along with you. Some people with inner ear disorders may have episodes where they feel like they’re spinning around, especially if they tilt their head at a specific angle.
The Visual System
Have you ever tried to stand on one foot with your eyes closed?
Even to a person who doesn’t have problems balancing, they will usually feel dizzy within a minute and lose balance. This is because our visual system plays an important role in keeping us balanced.
Your visual system sends information about depth, velocity, and motion perception to your brain. Your brain then uses this information to calculate things like:
- Your body position relative to the 3D space and objects around you
- The depth of objects
- The velocity (meaning speed in a given direction) and the direction of movement of objects and your body
The Somatosensory System
Just like insects, we have “feelers” that help us get a clear idea of what surfaces we’re on and where each of our body parts are located.
We don’t have those little antennas (how weird would that be?), but instead, we have two parts of our somatosensory system that tell us this information.
The first part is called the proprioception. This is basically an internal awareness mechanism that tells our nervous system where our body parts and organs are in relation to our whole bodies.
The second part is called exteroception. This part contains exteroceptors, which are like pressure sensors on our hands and feet that tell us information about the surface we are on. For example, it can tell us that we are on a wobbly, moving surface (like a boat), or a hard, steady surface (like concrete).
Learning more about your balance condition and how to treat it through physical therapy is the quickest and easiest way to get your balance back.
What Causes Balance Problems & Disorders?
Balance problems and disorders occur when your balance system is disrupted.
But what causes the disruption?
There are a variety of different causes for difficulty balancing. Some of the most common causes for balance problems are:
- Weak muscles
- Inner ear issues (such as crystals or inflammation)
- Neurological conditions (such as migraines)
- Postural hypotension (where blood pressure suddenly drops with certain movements such as standing)
- Poor joint mobility
- Cardiovascular disease
If you have dizziness, lightheadedness, or trouble balancing, your doctor may refer you to specialists such as an ENT, neurologist, or cardiologist for the appropriate testing and diagnosis.
No matter what your diagnosis is, you CAN work with your condition to improve your balance and prevent falls.
Don’t just accept the diagnosis. There is a safe and effective SOLUTION to your balance problems that will help you get back to normal life again…
How to Boost Your Balance and Prevent Falls
The best way to improve your balance and return to the activities you love again is to see a Doctor of Physical Therapy who specializes in balance disorders.
As an expert in movement and balance, a Doctor of Physical Therapy provides the best treatment to help you regain your balance as quickly and safely as possible.
A great physical therapist will work with you one-on-one and tailor the treatment to your specific diagnosis, age, health, and fitness level. Some of the common ways that physical therapists treat balance problems/disorders include:
- Guiding you through strengthening exercises to strengthen the muscles that are used to keep you balanced
- Helping you develop better posture (which is key to maintaining good balance)
- Using mobility exercises and/or manual therapy to promote healthy joints – allowing you to move more easily
- Guiding you through flexibility exercises to reduce any tightness that may have hindered your ability to move freely
- Providing massage or manual therapy to the muscles, joints, or the spine to alleviate pain that may have prevented you from maintaining good posture
- Educating you on how to prevent falls (such as which footwear is the best, how to set up your home, and how to prevent tripping hazards)
While many doctors refer patients with balance problems/disorders to a physical therapist, not all doctors are aware that anyone with a balance problem can benefit from balance physical therapy.
Luckily, you don’t need a referral to see a physical therapist. You can simply contact the office and schedule your appointment directly.
The exercises and tips that you learn from a few weeks of physical therapy will stay with you for life.
It’s essential to see a physical therapist instead of trying to treat the condition yourself. A physical therapist will monitor your posture, make sure your form is correct during exercises, and speed up the process in a way you can’t do on your own.
After only a couple of weeks of physical therapy, many patients with balance problems/disorders have significantly improved their balance, regained their confidence, and resumed their usual activities worry-free.
Some patients even overcome their balance problem/disorder completely through physical therapy.
Stop Suffering from Bad Balance: Get Help Today
Eliminate your risk of falls and start doing the things you love to do again without the fear of losing balance.
Our physical therapists at Back in Motion Sport & Spine Physical Therapy in Fort Myers, FL, continue to successfully treat balance disorders and help patients regain control over their lives again.
We work one-on-one with patients to help them overcome balance problems for good. Our patients have the option of seeing our expert physical therapists in-person or from anywhere in the world with our virtual physical therapy service.
Don’t let your balance problems rule your life: rule your balance problems and live your life instead.