Problems with dizziness or lack of balance are often dismissed as being unimportant or simply an unavoidable part of growing older. As a result, thousands of people suffer needlessly, finding it difficult to work, run errands, use a car, walk safely, or perform routine daily activities. Balance problems can cause profound disruptions in your life. In addition to increasing risk of falls, balance disorders can shorten your attention span, disrupt normal sleep patterns, and cause excessive fatigue. It is estimated that as many as 40 percent of adults have dizziness or balance problems severe enough to report to a physician. In a normal healthy individual there are three sensory systems that send information to the brain about balance:
Because of the complexity of balance control, not all balance problems are the same. If you have a balance disorder, you may have a problem in any one of these three sensory systems or a combination of them. Balance disorders can be treated with the correct evaluation by specially trained audiologists and physical therapists.
The Regional Balance Center has therapists and audiologists that have been specifically trained to assess and treat balance disorders, whether loss of balance is due to symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, blurred vision, lightheadedness, unsteadiness during walking or a history of frequent falls. Additionally, the Balance Center offers technically advanced testing equipment.
We use the NeuroCom SMART EquiTest balance system. Using the EquiTest system the therapists can distinguish which sensory system or systems may be deficient. The system can then be used to target those specific deficits to improve safety and balance during daily activities and walking.
The EquiTest machine measures visual, vestibular and physical reactions to a series of tests. The size of an open phone booth, the EquiTest features a platform that contains computer chips. Patients wear a harness much like that of a skydiver and stand on the platform. They are asked to try their best to maintain their balance while covering an eye, watching the colorfully painted walls move and other variables. The harness keeps them completely safe. The unit also is used throughout physical therapy training.
Our audiologists are trained in the testing and interpretation of videonystagmography (VNG). There is a direct connection between the inner ear and the muscles of the eyes, so there are some balance disorders that can be identified using this special test. During this test, eye motions can be visualized and recorded while the patient completes such tasks as:
This test is usually scheduled at the same time the EquiTest is scheduled and is only for patients with symptoms that would indicate vestibular or inner ear dysfunction.
Most patients can be helped with vestibular or balance restorative therapy programs provided by our physical therapists. Our therapists design customized rehab exercises and activities to each patient's goals for improvement.
Regional Balance Center Carl Erskine Rehabilitation Center, Erskine Medical Office Building 2020 Meridian Street, Suite 170 Anderson, IN 46016 (765) 646-8170 Toll free 1-877-703-4999