What To Do if You are Dizzy or Have Balance Disorders
Are you dizzy? You’re not alone. A patient I commonly see is someone with a balance disorder. These patients may have vertigo, spinning sensations where the world spins around them or they spin around the world. Others can’t discern a spinning sensation but relate that they feel like they are off center. Often, they have nausea or heart palpitations. Most relate their symptoms get worse when they roll over in bed or go from a sitting to a standing position.
Dizziness or Unbalance Could Be a Medical Emergency
This is a medical emergency if it comes on quickly because you may be having a stroke. Seek immediate medical attention. However, if your dizziness or unbalance comes and goes and seems to be getting slowly worse over time, you should still get evaluated by a trained physician in functional neurology.
Your eyes, ears, muscles and joints control your balance.
The eyes, ears, and information from your muscles and joints control your balance. Eyes control your vision. Ears are related to the vestibular system. There are three canals that make up the vestibular system. One is the horizontal. The other two are the anterior, which is angled 45 degrees to the front, and the posterior, which is angled 45 degrees to the back of the horizontal canal.
There are crystals or otoliths that float along these three canals just like traffic on a freeway. We don’t know why, but these crystals can get blocked together. This gives the brain a sensory error message. That means your brain perceives you to be in one position, but your body perceives you to be in another. This condition is called Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo, (BPPV). Dix -Hallpike is a diagnostic test in which the patient is quickly moved from a sitting to a lying position with head rotated and extended. If this reproduces the symptoms, an Epley procedure is performed where the doctor repositions the patient in a series of head and body moves that flushes the crystals to the correct position. Other causes can be viral or bacterial infections to the vestibular system. This occurs most commonly after airline travel.
Trauma from concussions can cause balance problems.
Trauma from concussions, as well as whiplash injuries, can cause injury to the vestibular system and the cerebellum. The cerebellum is located at the back part of the brain and, even though it is only 10% volume of the brain, it has over 80% of the neurons. It is activated by nerve pathways from muscles and joints. Prolonged repetitive stress from sitting at a computer screen will atrophy your neck muscles and contribute to balance issues.
Find the pathway that works
A functional neurologist’s approach is to evaluate the pathway that works, and then activate it to help the pathway that doesn’t work to function again. My best analogy is that if you live in North Scottsdale, there are several ways to travel to Sky Harbor airport. You can take the 101 Freeway, Hayden Road or Scottsdale Road. All can work, depending on the time of day. Rehabilitation often requires focusing on activating one of the systems initially, and then eventually all systems need to be involved for a proper functioning nervous system and brain.
Try a Simple Balance test. CLICK HERE.
If you are dizzy or have unexplained imbalances, or if you know someone experiencing dizziness, headaches, vertigo or other unresolved conditions, we may be able to help you! Call our office at 480-951-5006, or schedule your appointment here.
Treating the root cause of your condition, not just your symptoms, is the fastest way to recovery and is the best way to obtain optimal health and wellness.