6 Symptoms of a Balance Disorder

Balance disorders are one of the most common accidental injuries in adults 65 years and older. 

Although age is a risk factor for balance disorders, aging itself doesn’t cause this condition. However, as you age, you have a higher risk of developing conditions that weaken your sense of balance. 

Neuropathy, stroke, medications, and surgery can all lead to balance issues. In some cases, weakened muscles can cause problems with balance. That said, something as simple as building up the strength in your legs can help. 

Our team at Momentum Physical Therapy created this guide to the most common symptoms of balance disorders, so you know when it's time to seek medical help.

1. Lightheadedness 

Do you feel lightheaded when walking? Does it occur regularly? If so, the lightheadedness you experience could be a sign of an inner ear infection. 

The inner ear contains hairlike sensors and fluid that control your balance. When infections occur, the volume of fluid in your ear changes, and you may have a difficult time adjusting your balance.

2. Vertigo 

Does the room ever spin around you? Do you often feel dizzy and find it hard to coordinate your movements? 

Vertigo is a symptom, not a disease. It often occurs in people who have inner ear dysfunctions, as well as stroke patients and patients who’ve experienced neck or head trauma.

3. Vision changes 

Your eyes and ears are connected by neural fibers and work together to keep you balanced. Disturbances to spatial orientation, binocular vision dysfunction (i.e., the inability of eyes to work together as a team), and aniseikonia (i.e., objects seem larger or smaller in one eye) can all lead to dizziness, lack of coordination, and persistent balance issues.

4. Hearing issues 

Because the inner ear is the control center of your ability to balance your body, hearing issues often overlap with dizziness, staggering, and lightheadedness. Both labyrinthitis and Meniere's disease can cause balance issues and hearing problems.

5. Nausea

Vestibular neuritis is an inflammatory condition caused by a virus that impacts the nerves in the inner ear, leading to nausea and difficulty walking. Fortunately, most people see an improvement in their symptoms without treatment.

6. Staggering when walking

Not being able to stand on your feet without staggering is one of the biggest risk factors for falls and fractures. Unfortunately, staggering is also the most encountered symptom in balance disorders.

Find out how you can manage your balance disorder

The good news is you don't have to live with a balance disorder. Depending on what’s causing your issue, our team has a wide variety of therapeutic exercises to help you walk and perform your daily activities with confidence.

Contact us to schedule an appointment and receive expert advice on how to improve your balance.

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