What is a Balance Disorder?

What is a Balance Disorder?

Are you experiencing vertigo and/or dizziness? You may be having a form of a vestibular balance disorder.

About Balance Disorders
Our sense of balance is brought by a complex system found in our ears. Within the bones and cartilage of our ears are fluids that change in position with motion. A sensor in the ear sends this information to the brain. All of this makes up our vestibular system. Anything that affects any part of it can disrupt the system and consequently, our sense of balance.

Types of Balance Disorders
The following are some of the most common forms of balance disorders:

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
BPPV causes intense but brief episodes of dizziness or vertigo associated with moving the head such as getting up in the morning or rolling.

Meniere’s Disease
It’s a balance disorder characterized by the sensation of spinning (vertigo), dizziness, ringing sound in the ears (tinnitus), and hearing loss.

Vestibular Migraine
This is a type of migraine that may or may not cause a headache but can bring a number of symptoms such as vision and balance problems.

Causes
There are several causes of balance disorders including the use of certain medicines, inner ear problems, traumatic brain injury, and calcium debris found in the semicircular canals.

Symptoms
The symptoms of balance disorders vary but the most common ones include:

    • Dizziness
    • Feeling off-balance
    • Feeling as if the world is spinning
    • Disorientation
    • Blurred vision
    • Falling or stumbling

In some cases, it may also come with:

    • Nausea
    • Vomiting
    • Fear
    • Diarrhea
    • Anxiety

Treating Balance Disorders
Treatment for a balance disorder depends on its cause but may include treating the underlying cause/medical condition, changing the lifestyle, Epley maneuver (specialized series of movements in the head and chest), a balance retraining therapy, or surgery (if medications or more conservative measures don’t help).

Greater Knoxville ENT has specialists who can help you find the cause of your balance disorder and the most suitable treatment option for it. To request an appointment, you may call us at (865) 521-8050.

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