Falls are the leading cause of injuries in older adults. But because balance is an important part of everyday life for all of us, stability is critical at any age.
The sense of balance is made up of three parts: vision, the vestibular (inner ear) system, and the nervous system (response to muscle and joint movement). When one of these parts is not working properly, you may experience any of the following:
- Spinning, dizziness, or vertigo (the feeling that the "room is spinning")
- Problems in vision with head movement
- Poor balance - disequilibrium
A Team Approach
At NYPBMH, a multi-disciplinary team approach is used to identify and treat balance disorders. Referrals may be made to other specialists, including: otolaryngologists (doctors who specialize in treatment of ear, nose, and throat disorders), ophthalmologists (doctors who treat eye diseases), and neurosurgeons (doctors who perform brain surgery). Plus, we offer rehabilitation under the supervision of a certified vestibular rehabilitation therapist.
Some common conditions that may cause a decrease in balance include inner ear disorders; neurological disorders such as stroke, head injury, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy, spinal cord disorders and/or side effects of brain surgery; and orthopedic disorders such as sports injuries and other muscle or bone conditions. Once a diagnosis has been made, a treatment plan is developed and customized for each patient.
The NYPBMH medical team's goal is to provide each patient with the ability to overcome balance disorders, restore self-esteem, and regain control over his or her everyday lives.
In order to properly treat the disorder, it is important to determine the cause of the balance problems. To identify the problem, NYPBMH doctors do the following:
- Neurological Evaluation: a complete exam performed by a neurologist (a doctor who specializing in brain and movement disorders.)
- Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP): a test that uses computer monitoring to quantify a patient's ability to maintain balance under various conditions.
- Videonystagmography (VNG): VNG is the basis for many vestibular (inner ear) tests that check the function of the inner ear, eye movements, and neural pathways.
- Dix-Hallpike Testing and Repositioning: a procedure used to determine whether a person has benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).
- Hearing Tests: may also help determine whether balance disorders are caused by inner ear problems.
DiagnosisSome common conditions that may cause a decrease in balance include inner ear disorders; neurological (brain) disorders such as stroke, head injury, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, peripheral neuropathy and/or side effects of brain surgery; and orthopedic disorders such as sports injuries and other muscle or bone conditions.
TreatmentOnce a thorough assessment of the balance problem has been made, a treatment plan is developed for each patient.