What Causes a Balance Disorder?

Testing the limits of your balance or becoming dizzy can be fun when you’re the one controlling it. If you ever spun yourself in circles as a child, you know about the joy that can come from making your world a little topsy-turvy, if only for a few seconds. As an adult, you may still enjoy the lightheadedness you feel after a spin ride at a theme park or relish in the challenge of keeping your balance on a parking curb. Purposeful dizziness can truly be a fun experience.

There is no joy to be found in unwittingly losing your balance. A balance disorder can make you feel like the room is revolving around you, as if you’re leaning to one side as you walk, or the perfectly solid ground under your feet is rocking like a boat. You might also feel unsteady, dizzy, lightheaded, or confused. It’s easy to see the impact a balance disorder could have on your daily life. Thankfully, there are ways to diagnose the cause of your balance issues and get you on the way to feeling like you’re back on solid ground.

If you feel unsteady during your normal activities, it’s time to come see us at Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography. Dr. Habib Khan and the rest of our team will work with you to diagnose your balance disorder and create a custom treatment plan that will provide the relief you deserve. Dr. Khan is board-certified and has years of experience helping patients get relief from the neurological problems that previously plagued them. 

On balance

Everyone has moments where they feel dizzy or off-balance. You may need a couple extra seconds to get your bearings when you get out of bed in the morning or stand up after a few hours on the couch. Something as simple as a missed meal could make you lightheaded.

A balance disorder occurs when you have issues with balance throughout the day or without cause. Any of the following can be symptoms of a balance disorder:

These symptoms can strike at any time, whether you are sitting, standing, walking, or even lying in bed.

Balance disorder causes

Our sense of balance actually comes from the inner ear. Inside the inner ear you’ll find the labyrinth and it’s two main components. On one end is the cochlea, which uses the vibrations caused by sound to create the nerve messages you brain will interpret to help you hear. At the other end are the otolithic organs and the semicircular canals. These liquid-filled pouches and loops control your main sense of balance. 

Dr. Kahn finds that most balance issues originate from benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is a common cause of vertigo that occurs when crystals, which are located in the otolithic organs and control your brain’s calibration of gravity, get dislodged. Other potential causes include:

To achieve a diagnosis, Dr. Kahn will perform a full evaluation and may request additional tests, like a CT scan or MRI, to determine the exact cause of your balance issues. For most, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo is the final diagnosis.

Treating a balance disorder

The most common way of treating a balance disorder is physical therapy. The Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography has a great relationship with many physical therapy clinics in the area and can refer you to a program or therapists that will work best for your needs. Most patients find that physical rehabilitation and balance training works wonders.

When at home, try to optimize your surroundings to prevent a fall caused by dizziness or vertigo: keep clutter out of walkways and make sure you have proper lighting in the rooms you frequent. Also remember to be patient with yourself. In many cases, you may need to just wait for the dizziness to pass. 

Don’t let a balance disorder derail your daily activities. Dr. Kahn and the team at the Arizona Institute of Neurology & Polysomnography can help you find your equilibrium. Call our Casa Grande office today. 

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