5 Things your Loss of Balance could be Trying to Tell you
Our balance is something we always take for granted. It keeps us upright, moving in the right direction and even keeps us stable when sitting or sleeping. So when our balance is taken away for any reason, this can considerably impact our lives and how we live.
This month, Physio Healing Hands look at the reasons for our lack of balance and what we can do to get our balance back with the help of a qualified physiotherapist.
How our Bodies Maintain their Balance and Prevent Falls
Our bodies are incredibly clever. A signal from our organs to our brain supports our sense of balance. This includes the muscles in our legs, our eyes and our ears. The vestibular, which is inside our inner ear, is the primary balance assistor, and this is made up of bone and soft tissue. When you move, your vestibular detects forces that stimulate your semicircular canals, which work with parts of your body to control your body position. This helps you maintain a stable position and keeps your balance when mobilising.
A balance disorder can significantly impact our lives, mainly if it occurs suddenly and with no apparent cause. Suddenly, simple tasks like getting out of bed, tackling stairs and getting to work can seem daunting and almost impossible. For those suffering from prolonged vertigo, the chances are they are not going to be able to perform simple work duties and could need between 2-3 months off work to recover.
Top 5 Reasons for your Loss of Balance
Whilst many elements can knock your balance off-kilter, we find that most things can be righted with 5 minutes rest and plenty of water. There are, however, some causes of a lack of balance that are not so easy to recognise, diagnose or solve.
Inner Ear Problems
Our ears are the hub of balance which is why, when you have an ear infection or any problems with your inner ear, you may find that your balance is thrown off. Inner ear problems could result from an ear infection, but don’t forget our ears are also connected to our respiratory system, so if you have a cold or the flu, this could also be the reason for your wobbliness! Generally diagnosed by a doctor, antibiotics, rest, and fluids should help right your ear infection or flu symptoms.
Whether diagnosed as large or small, a stroke can affect several things, including your balance and ability to move. This could be due to one-sided weakness, changes in sensations and joint / muscle pain and stiffness. A physiotherapist can support stroke patients to exercise and move in a way that suits their bodies post-stroke. Involving a physiotherapist as soon as possible after a stroke has occurred can be very beneficial as they will be able to support the patient to prevent complications and focus on recovery.
Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure or hypotension can occur for several reasons, including age, pregnancy and medical conditions. If you have hypotension, you may be most aware of this when going from sitting to standing and feeling lightheaded, faint or dizzy. You may be able to manage your blood pressure by drinking plenty of fluids, avoiding alcohol and wearing support stockings to manage circulation.
Concussion, confusion and lightheadedness all have a part to play in a lack of balance after head trauma. If you have taken a knock to the head or neck recently, it stands to reason that your balance will be affected by this. Normally rest and recovery will do wonders for your head trauma (dependent on the seriousness of the injury); however, if this is persistent and doesn’t seem to be getting better, it may be time to follow up with your primary doctor for advice.
Those who have suffered an injury to their spinal cord, neck or legs could also be at the mercy of a lack of balance. Depending on where the injury occurred, spinal cord injuries could result in a lack of control over specific body parts. A physiotherapist will work with spinal cord injury patients on posture, muscle control and daily tasks to improve independence, strength and quality of life. For patients who have had a spinal cord injury, the balance may not fully return due to the nature of the damage. However, working with a physiotherapist could improve various aspects of the injury and make the patient more comfortable.
Common Symptoms of Balance Disorders and How to Deal with Them
Whilst you may not know where your lack of balance has come from without the support of a doctor or physiotherapist, there are a number of symptoms to look out for that could determine whether you are suffering from a lack of balance or something else:
- Dizziness or vertigo
- Feeling as though you are going to fall or falling
- Staggering when walking
- Blurry vision
- Confusion or disorientation
- Faintness or lightheadedness
- Tiredness and depression
It’s important to note that these symptoms are not exhaustive, and different people could experience various symptoms and triggers dependent on what they are suffering with.
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Get rid of your Loss of Balance Back with Physio Healing Hands
At Physio Healing Hands, we have over 20 years of experience in Neuro-musculoskeletal-elderly physiotherapy, stroke rehabilitation and spinal cord injuries. We work with a variety of clients on the lack of balance, injuries and are passionate about helping all of our clients live their lives to their full potential.
If your lack of balance is getting you down and you need some support to improve it, why not book an initial consultation with us today. Let’s see how we can get you back to your optimal balance as soon as possible?
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