Loss of balance can have a variety of different causes. A Vestibular Physiotherapist deals with imbalance everyday allowing us to assess and diagnose the possible cause accurately.
Balance relies on integration of three main systems:
1. Vision is our primary sense of being able to perceive where our body is in relation to the environment around us. If vision is affected or deteriorating or the type of prescription you have for your eyesight such as multifocals can definitely affect your balance. If we find during examination that this is a factor we will work closely with your optometrist to find a solution.
2. Proprioception is the information we receive from the pressure sensors in the ligaments and muscles around our joints. There are proprioceptors in all our joints from the soles of our feet to the top of our spine, however there is a much higher concentration of these in the joints of our necks.
On oculomotor testing in these cases there are no significant findings but balance testing will confirm an issue with proprioception. Sometimes these patients have neck pain, headaches or migraines but not always. A thorough assessment of upper cervical spine segments may be required if we suspect the dizziness may be cervicogenic.
3.Vestibular imbalance is caused by a loss of equilibrium in your inner ears and will respond well to Vestibular Rehabilitation. There are many different vestibular issues that are all treatable and may affect your balance.There will be definite signs throughout your Oculomotor Examination that allow us to diagnose a vestibular issue.
The vestibular system is our inner ear balance system and it perceives our head position relative to gravity. There are 5 different sensory organs involved in sensing both linear and angular movements relative to gravity. Thanks to 2 very important reflexes we are provided with stable gaze while we are moving as well as a stable posture.
Sometimes a neurological assessment is required if we suspect a problem with the central nervous system or a peripheral neuropathy.
Assessment of your balance will include assessment of all 3 of these areas. As your vestibulo ocular reflex provides gaze stability by linking your eye muscles to the sensory organs in your inner ear, a dysfunction in this system will be seen as an inability to stabilize your eye movements. For this reason in our assessment we are able to get specific information about what is happening in your inner ear by assessing your eye movements.
We will then look at how this system integrates with the other balance systems.
As we age it is normal to lose some of our sense of balance. Often a combination of all three areas of balance will contribute to this but correctly prescribed rehab can address this with very good results.
Alison who is our Vestibular Physiotherapist here at the Asquith Clinic deals closely with imbalance everyday. If you think any of the information you have read today relates to you, feel free to give us a call on 9477 1997 or book online with Alison today!