Evaluating and Treating Balance Disorders
Although many people experience occasional episodes of dizziness, some people have prolonged dizziness that could be signs of a balance disorder. Balance disorders are most common in older people, but they can affect people of all ages.
The mission of The Balance Center at Northwest Texas Healthcare System is to help people strengthen weaknesses in their balance systems or develop abilities to compensate for these weaknesses.
Balance depends on messages sent to the brain by the eyes, muscles, joints and vestibular (inner ear) system. If any of these systems are disrupted (from a virus, infection, injury or something else), people may experience vertigo, dizziness or clumsiness. Some balance disorders last several months and eventually resolve on their own. Without treatment, however, many people have difficulty functioning and may be at risk for serious falls and injuries.
Signs of a Possible Balance Disorder
Below are signs and symptoms of a possible balance disorder. If you have two or more of them, contact your primary care physician, who can refer you to the Northwest Texas Healthcare System Balance Center, if needed.
- Motion sickness
- Sensation of falling or spinning
- Frequent Falls
The goal at The Balance Center is to help patients strengthen weaknesses in their balance systems or compensate for those weaknesses. Treatment may include:
- Positioning Therapy — Therapists direct patients through a series of maneuvers to re-position calcium crystals in the inner ear, which often cause balance problems.
- Adaptation and Substitution Therapy — Patients’ use of vision and sensation is enhanced to help maintain balance.
- Exercise — Patients perform specific exercises that challenge and strengthen areas needed for balance.
Although some people may be treated successfully in one visit, the average length of treatment is one or more appointments over four weeks.
To learn more or to make an appointment at The Balance Center, call 806-351-7045. To find a doctor affiliated with Northwest Texas Healthcare System, contact our free physician referral service at 800-887-1114.