A balance disorder or deficit, typically describes a disturbance that causes an individual to feel unsteady on their feet. Balance issues may lead you to feel dizzy or lightheaded and these symptoms can be experienced while standing, sitting or lying down.  In order for the body to achieve a normal level of balance, it takes many body systems such as your eyes, inner ear, muscles, bones and nerves, amongst others, to work in harmony. When one or more of these systems are malfunctioning, it may result in a balance deficit. 

Causes and Risk Factors Associated with a Balance Disorder

  • Vertigo: You may experience a sense of motion or spinning when you move your head to look behind you or above you. 
  • Inner Ear Infection: An infection or inflammation to your inner ear can cause dizziness.  The condition may be caused by the flu or another type of upper respiratory infection. 
  • Joint, Muscle or Vision Problems: Muscle weakness and joint instability can throw off your balance in addition to trouble with your eyesight. 
  • Medications: If you are taking certain medications, side effects may include loss of balance or unsteadiness. 
  • Age: If you are aged 65 and over, your risk of balance issues steadily increases, especially if you also have arthritis or high or low blood pressure.  

Symptoms of Balance Deficit

  • You may feel dizzy or unsteady, often without warning.
  • It’s common to feel faint or lightheaded when the body is not in perfect balance.
  • Things may appear hazy and unclear with blurred vision.
  • A state of confusion or disorientation can occur with balance issues. 

Treatment for Balance Issues

  • Physical Therapy: A physical therapist can design a customized program that includes balance retraining exercises to help you adapt and maintain a healthy level of physical activity. To help you avoid the increased risk of falls, your physical therapist may also suggest using a balance aid like a cane to keep you safe outside of treatment. 
  • Dietary and Lifestyle Changes: Eating a healthier diet and increasing your water intake may ease symptoms of balance deficits depending on identified underlying cause. 
  • Medications: If you have a bacterial ear infection that is causing your balance problems, you may be prescribed antibiotics. Additionally, if you have severe nausea, you may be prescribed medications to control dizziness and vomiting. 
  • Surgery: If you have Meniere’s disease, a rare ear disease, your treatment plan may include surgery on your vestibular system, the part that makes up your inner ear and affects your balance.  

At Medical Rehabilitation Centers of Pennsylvania, our licensed physical therapists have extensive training and experience in delivering customized therapy programs that are designed to improve your balance, whether you are stationary or performing physical tasks. Our gait and balance assessment tests can help us determine any potential underlying issues as a result of your balance deficit. We will perform a thorough review of your medical history while considering normal factors to provide you with the best treatment plan. We are strongly committed to ensuring that our physical therapy programs will not only restore your balance but also significantly improve your strength and mobility in the process. 

For comprehensive diagnostics and tailor-made physical therapy treatments in and around Philadelphia and the Greater Philadelphia Area, contact MRCP. Visit us at one of our convenient locations or contact us online.