When Should I Be Concerned About My Balance?

When Should I Be Concerned About My Balance?

by Crystal (SU)

Most people at some time in their lives have felt dizzy or lightheaded. For many people, those feelings are temporary and don’t happen often; however, if it does happen to you frequently, it could mean you have a balance problem.


Having good balance means being able to control your body position, walk without stumbling, and get up and bend over without falling. Good balance is essential for carrying out normal daily activities while walking.


Issues with balance are one of the most common reasons that older adults seek help from a doctor. Balance problems are often caused by disturbances of the inner ear. That feeling of the room spinning is called vertigo, which is a common symptom of an inner ear disturbance.


How Do I Know If I Have a Balance Problem?


If you have a balance disorder, you may occasionally stumble or fall when walking. Other symptoms may include feeling that you are falling, lightheadedness, blurry vision, or confusion.


If you think that you have a balance disorder, you should schedule an appointment with a doctor. The physician will conduct several tests and may refer you to a neurologist or other specialist.


What Can Cause Balance Problems?


While many balance disorders are not serious, it can be a sign of other health problems, such as an ear infection, a stroke, or an illness such as multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, or ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig’s disease).


Although some patients with vertigo may worry that they are having a stroke, a brain tumor, or another life-threatening illness, that’s very rarely the case. A good rule of thumb is that if you have dizziness or vertigo with no other symptoms, then you probably have nothing to worry about.


That being said, dizziness and vertigo are annoying and can interfere with your life. Luckily, there are things you can do to treat your symptoms.


How Are Balance Issues Treated?


In many cases, you can help treat a balance disorder by seeking medical treatment for the underlying issue that is causing the dizziness or vertigo. For example, since our ears are sensitive to salt, your doctor may recommend reducing your salt/sodium intake. Diet and weight loss can help too.


People who are physically active and in good shape have fewer problems with balance, and their balance issues can improve more quickly after having a balance disorder. So maintaining an active lifestyle can help improve balance issues.


In addition, balance rehabilitation with a physical therapist can be very helpful. Physical therapists help you devise an individualized plan to improve strength, stability, and mobility.


How Can I Prevent Falling?


Perhaps the most concerning part of a balance disorder is the increased risk of falling. Falls are the most common initial event leading to death in the elderly.


Therefore, it is very important for older adults to do everything they can to prevent falls. To prevent falls at home, it is important to create a safe environment, with handrails and good lighting.


Physical therapists can assist with treatments to help prevent falls such as strengthening, stretching, visual tracking, and inner ear retraining. As a result of physical therapy, patients frequently see improved mobility, balance, strength, flexibility, posture, and activity levels, as well as a reduced risk of falling.


Experienced Doctors in Oklahoma City


If you have issues with your balance, make an appointment with one of our health providers and board-certified physicians at The Brooks Clinic. Our therapy clinic can develop a personalized plan to help you and to restore your balance.


To make an appointment with The Brooks Clinic in Oklahoma City, call us at (405) 400-0877 or request an appointment online here. We look forward to serving you.