Balance and Fall Prevention
Balance is controlled by the visual, vestibular and proprioceptive systems, which work together. If one of these systems is impaired, poor balance can result, creating a much greater risk of a fall.
- Chronic diseases that affect physical or mental function
- Specific medications or interaction between medications
- Inner ear infection or disease
- Head injury, especially from a previous fall
Individuals may experience balance issues and dizziness very differently. Symptoms can include:
- A sensation of lightheadedness or faintness
- A feeling of motion even when still
- A sensation of spinning in which one is moving or the environment is spinning (vertigo).
Equipment such as canes or walkers have traditionally been used, along with medication, but the systems that help control balance can also be strengthened to help improve balance and minimize falls. Vestibular physical therapy uses specialized exercises to address specific areas of the individual’s vestibular/balance disorder.