Vertigo and Balance Problems
Many health conditions can cause balance problems, such as feeling dizzy or feeling unsteady on your feet. We have doctors skilled in evaluating balance problems and coming up with a treatment plan that is unique to your needs.
What are balance problems?
There are many systems in your body that must work together to help you keep your balance such as your eyes, your muscles and joints, your blood vessels and your nerves. One of the most important body parts in keeping your balance is a special organ in your inner ear that makes up your vestibular system. Balance problems can cause you to feel:
Diagnosing balance problems
If you are having balance problems, your doctor will do a complete physical exam. He or she may also do a neurological exam, or an exam of how your brain is working. Some of the tests your doctor may order are:
An electronystagmogram, or ENG test, may be done to find the problem causing you to lose your balance, feel dizzy or experience vertigo. ENG testing is done to find the location of the problem – the inner ear, the brain or the nerves connecting them. The test can be done at your doctor’s office or at a hospital. The test is painless and is done in a darkened room. First electrodes are attached to the face using a paste that easily is wiped off afterward.
You will be asked to follow a moving point of light with your eyes. You also will be asked to look straight ahead and side to side without turning your head. Your eye movements are measured and recorded. The test may take an hour or 90 minutes. The test will show how well your eyes, inner ears, brain and nerves help you keep your balance. Your provider may advise you not to take some medications for up to five days prior to the test to ensure the best results.
How your balance problem is treated will depend on the cause. If it is caused by an infection, you may need to just give it time and continue to allow your body to rest and heal. Other treatments may include:
Physical therapy, including exercises to maintain your balance, strengthen your body, and prevent falls
Lifestyle changes like watching the food you eat or using aids to help you keep your balance