Balance & Fall Prevention
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Balance/Fall Prevention Treatment From A Recognized Expert In Vertigo, Dizziness, and Balance Challenges
Have you ever wondered how you are able to keep your balance on unstable terrain or when there is movement under your feet such as on a bus, subway, or escalator?
Most people are surprised to find out about the critical role your ears play when it comes to helping your body remain upright and prevent falling and the risk of injury.
Balance and fall prevention are concerns addressed by AVI New England because of their critical connection to the ears. Dr. Bauman demonstrated his expertise on the subject in chapter 11 of New Frontiers in Aging, by Olga Brom Spencer, PhD., Praeger Publishers, which addresses “Vertigo, Dizziness, and Balance.”
How Do Our Ears Help Balance Us?
Your inner ear includes three complex components used to transmit sound to your brain: semicircular canals, the otolithic organs, and the cochlea. The semicircular canals look like three circular loops, with each loop sensing movement of a different type or in a different direction to signal imbalance to your brain.
Similar to a carpenter’s level or plumb, the fluid in these loops retains a level position relative to the position of the body. As the fluid moves, the hair cells sense the movement and signal the imbalance to the brain, which signals arms, legs, and other parts of your body to make adjustments.
Symptoms And Causes Of Balance Issues
A primary symptom of balance issues is vertigo or dizziness, which often leads to nausea, even when you are not moving, navigating uneven terrain, or standing up. Motion sickness while sitting or standing, or a spinning or floating sensation while you are lying down, are common with vertigo, which can result from damage or deterioration of inner ear structures.
In addition to hearing loss, deterioration of these inner ear structures is one of the reasons balance becomes more difficult as you age. Damage to inner ear structures can also affect individuals of all ages as a consequence of various illnesses or injuries such as:
Labyrinthitis or Vestibular Neuronitis, which is an inner ear infection with inflammation in the labyrinth structure of the inner ear, often producing tinnitus and hearing loss. The two differ only in that hearing loss is a symptom of labyrinthitis but not a symptom of vestibular neuronitis.
Meniere’s disease is an increase of pressure within the labyrinth structure, which typically affects only one ear (though it can affect both). Medications are often prescribed to help manage the predictable buildup of pressure before each episode, but the condition is usually temporary and goes away naturally after a few years.
Perilymph Fistula occurs when fluid from the inner ear leaks into the middle ear. The condition is common in birth defects, in association with injuries or surgeries on the head, as a consequence of a severe ear infection or after scuba diving.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is a common but less critical issue related to positional balance.
Mal de Debarquement Syndrome (MdDS), or Disembarkment Syndrome, includes a sensation of prolonged movement such as the rocking of a boat or motion of a treadmill even after you have gotten off of them.
AVI New England Provides Expert Balance/Fall Protection Treatment
The cause and severity of each condition determines how we treat each type of balance disorder, which can include pharmaceutical or physical therapies.
Pharmaceutical therapies include antibiotics to treat infections that lead to labyrinthitis as well as medications to help manage the pressure associated with Meniere’s disease. Other illnesses require other forms of treatments and medications.
Patients affected by BPPV or MdDS and other conditions that cause vertigo respond well to Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT). VRT involves a form of physical therapy designed to help desensitize the balance system and help patients adjust their movement in certain activities, such as standing up or sitting down in a chair, making vertigo easier to live with and to prevent falls.
Schedule A Balance Evaluation
If you or a loved one is experiencing vertigo or struggling to maintain your balance, AVI New England can help alleviate your symptoms as well as reduce your risk of falls and possible injury.
Simply complete the form on this page to schedule a balance evaluation and a member of our team will be in touch shortly.
All questions are welcome!