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Balance Disorders

A balance disorder is not a diagnosis in itself but is usually the result of some other underlying diagnosis. It is critical to understand how the systems of the body work together to maintain balance and what to do when one or several components of this system are not functioning properly.

Balance is the ability to maintain your body position over your base (your feet). The brain is able to do this by receiving information (sensory system) from what we see (using items around us to orient us to our own body position relative to that object), and feel (such as the floor under our feet), from special receptors in the joints, and the inner ear. Than the brain takes all this information and sends commands to the body to maintain its position within our base and prevent a fall

Many factors can cause problems in your balance system. A thorough evaluation by a physical therapy can help to identify systems that are not working properly and to provide the best treatment for YOUR balance problems.

What can cause a balance problem?

Balance disorders occur when any part of the motor, sensory, or integration center in the brain is damaged.


Brain Lesions

Lesions in the brain and spinal cord occur with certain neurologic conditions (multiple sclerosis, devics disease…etc). Depending on the location of the lesions, can determine the severity of the balance impairment.


Some medications can cause a condition called orthostatic hypotension, a drop in blood pressure when moving from sitting to standing. This sudden drop in blod pressure can cause dizzyness, visual disturbance, and/or lightheadness which may lead to a balance disturbance. This is a medical condition where somewhat should seek immediate medical attention.

Peripheral Nerve Injury

Communication to the muscles is disrupted

Peripheral Neuropathy

Sensory information about the surface underneath our feet or a change in the surface either does not get to the brain or is delayed and therefore the brains ability to coordinate a motor response is either delayed or does not occur at all.

Vestibular Impairments

The inner ear has a special sensory organ which detects a change in head position. With damage to this organ cause our brain to receive inaccurate information which causes an inaccurate balance response. Symptoms that can also occur are a sensation of dizzyness, vertigo, lightheadedness, or a sensation that the room is spinning.


Changes can occur to this system due to the normal aging process. Complicating factors that are part of the normal aging process include changes in our vision, sensation, hearing, and reaction time.

Physical Therapy Treatment

There are a variety of proven techniques to improve balance. If the balance problem is a result of a problem with the vestibular system, the best course of treatment is with a vestibular therapist who will set up a

Vestibular Rehabilitation

The cause of the balance problem may be due to a problem with the vestibular system (complex system in the inner ear that responds to head and eye movement to maintain balance). This may causes dizzyness, and the sensation that the room is spinning when the head moves in and out of certain positions.  A physical therapist can perform specific repositioning maneuvers to treat the condition.

Habituation Exercises

A physical therapist can identify what part of the complex balance system is not functioning properly.  Once these areas are identified, the therapist will incorporate specific combinations of head and eye movements to improve reaction time when a loss of balance occurs and to teach your body how to respond appropriately.  The goal is that the body will become better at responding in a timely and appropriate manner to prevent a fall

Static and Dynamic Balance exercises

This involves static and dynamic standing in various conditions such as uneven and unfamiliar surfaces. This strengthens the balance and vestibular centers in the brain to work better. At Orlando Neuro Therapy, we take it one step further by developing a treatment plan that will incorporate activities and situations that are different and unique to each person. This may include going to the golf course, bowling ally, grocery store or busy mall where YOUR life happens.

Stretching and strengthening exercises

Impaired balance can also be the result of weak muscles, poor muscle flexibility, or generalized de-conditioning. These issues can also be addressed with strengthening, and stretching the involved muscles.

Balance Self Assessment

balance confidence scale