Acquire self-confidence in your mobility skills
Feeling out of balance and dizziness in routine life makes it challenging. It becomes difficult to perform daily tasks and basic activities, you feel the loss of liberty, and your quality of life is jeopardized.
Balance therapy is also known as vestibular rehabilitation therapy. It is an exercise-based program designed by trained and qualified physical therapists to improve the balance issue and related problems.
Balance-related problems can develop due to age, injury, or some illnesses. Balance of the body is maintained by the inner ear and the disorders of the inner ear can generate balance disorders. These balance disorders are also called vestibular disorders.
The primary balance disorders are:
- Gaze instability
Dizziness can be defined as a feeling of lightheadedness, passing out, the sensation of moving, spinning, floating, and whirling. These symptoms can be episodic or can be constant.
The primary balance disorders can generate secondary disorders such as:
- Difficulty in concentrating
These problems if left untreated can produce anxiety, depression, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle due to fear of movement and fall.
Candidates of Balance therapy
Candidates of balance or vestibular therapy are the patients who are diagnosed with different problems such as:
- Dizziness and balance problems
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo
- Neck disorders are the most common cause of vertigo
- Brain injuries
- Frequent fall issue
- Patients having a stroke history
- Motion sensitivity and intolerance
- Different vestibular or inner ear problems
- Balance problems related to peripheral neuropathy, weakness
- Parkinson’s disease
How does balance therapy work?
The inner ear plays an important role in maintaining balance, coordination of the head, and eye movement. Any dysfunctionality in the inner ear can distort this balance. This results in increased sensitivity to movement, visual stimulation, and feeling of spinning.
The purpose of balance therapy is to retrain the brain to better receive the information and then organize the information from the inner ear. Therapy assists in understanding the new normal of the system after the malfunction due to injury, trauma, or disease.
The procedure involves the use of a specific pattern and duration of repetitive movement-based stimulation of the inner ear. This stimulation aids the brain to use the residual information in the inner ear more effectively. The brain also uses the information from two other sensory systems, vision and somatosensory information such as body, muscles, and joints information. All this new and better-coordinated information to the brain produces the overall improvement in balance and dizziness.
In most cases, patients with inner ear disorders have a narrow chance of regaining normal function. Because the damage or deficit is permanent. However, after the damage, the symptoms and functions can be improved with the help of compensation. The brain provides this compensation as it learns to use the other two sensory systems more effectively. The therapist helps the client by increasing the compensation.
Three modes of exercises: A comprehensive therapy program
The therapists use the problem-oriented approach to improve brain compensation. This can be implied by customizing the exercise plan. Therefore, a problem is needed to be diagnosed and identified. The therapist would evaluate your symptoms and medical history.
The assessment includes:
- Posture observation
- Balance reactions
- Functional movements
- Positional testing
- Visual stability and mobility
- Inner exam
- Neck and arm strength
After the evaluation, a physical therapist would provide you with the findings and goal. If you agree then he would recommend you the session.
The program usually involves three different modes of exercise tailored to the specific needs of the patients.
- Balance training
- Gaze stabilization
1.Balance training exercises
Balance training exercises improve the patient’s stability so they can perform daily life functions and chores easily. These exercises also improve balance so the risk of falls could be minimized.
These exercises reduce the walking barriers and make the walk easy even outside and on uneven grounds.
Habituation exercises are designed to control the dizziness that is caused by self-motion and visual stimuli.
Self-motion involves sudden movements such as sudden head-turning, looking up above the head, or bending over. The visual stimuli include the environments that are the stimulus for dizziness such as shopping malls, grocery stores. It also includes tv watching, walking on shiny and patterned floors.
The habituation exercises are designed to repeat the exposure to visual stimuli or movements that cause dizziness. The exposure should be minimal but continuous and should moderately or mildly trigger the person. Over the period, the brain learns to ignore the stimulus, and dizziness intensity becomes reduce.
Some patients having clear eyesight complain of the jumping and bouncing of the visual world or images when they move around such as while reading. While identifying an object when they move in a vehicle.
Gaze stabilization exercises help in controlling the eye movement while spinning the head so the vision could be stable or clear. The fall risk is reduced.
Benefits of balance therapy
Benefits provided by the balance therapy are numerous if you are struggling with different vestibular disorders.
- Reduced dizziness
- Decrease the risk of falling
- Improves stability while you move around
- It improves neuromuscular coordination
- Improved balance
- Control on anxiety and stress caused by the dizziness
- Gaze stabilization
- Restoration of normal body movements and function
- Improved neck movement
Different conditions can limit the progress in recoveries such as pain, presence of other medical conditions and use of multiple medicines, etc.
If you are suffering from balance and dizziness disorders, you must visit physical therapy clinics.