Kim Cullen, PT, DPT reminds us that this week is Balance Awareness week.
Vestibular disorders affect balance, and can cause dizziness, nausea and weekness and can affect people of any age.
According to the Vestibular Disorders Association, balance disorders, or vestibular disorders, affect 69 million Americans.
Vestibular disorders are not issues that can be seen by the human eye. They result from a variety of causes including: benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), nerve damage affecting the inner ear, head trauma, and medications.
“Vestibular disorders are not easily diagnosed,” said Kimberly Cullen, PT, clinical director of Bacharach’s Tuckerton campus. “We get people who come to us because they are dizzy or have difficulty walking. Many times the cause of the problem is unknown.”
The treatment of vestibular disorders depends on what the patient’s deficits are and can last for anywhere from one session to two months. Treatment can include canalith repositioning, habituation exercises, and exercises challenging one’s balance such as soft surface exercises, exercises with closed eyes and more. The goal of these exercises is to try to get the vestibular system to work better.
“The treatment of vestibular disorders involves exercises that are not safe to do at home,” said Kimberly. “The exercises are safe under our supervision because we can guard patients and guide them. In this environment these exercises are good because they challenge the patient’s balance.”
Balance issues are not just associated with vestibular disorders but can be underlying issues from other injuries as well. For example something as simple as an ankle sprain can lead to balance issues.
Some balance disorders are treated through physical therapy. Other balance disorders require the expertise of an audiologist.
“If anyone is having a balance problem, they need to go see a therapist or a doctor before engaging in balance activities for a number of safety reasons,” said Kim.
To learn more about Bacharach’s treatment of vestibular disorders or balance issues please call 609-652-7000 or the Bacharach Balance Center, 609-748-5370.