Vestibular Imbalance

The vestibular system is made up of the parts of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information that controls balance and eye movements. Vestibular disorders arise as a result of damage to this system.

Almost 70 million people have experienced vestibular dysfunction at some point in their lives. The majority of vestibular disorders in adults often go undiagnosed and untreated, resulting in a diminished quality of life and inability to perform normal day-to-day activities.

The Symptoms

Symptoms of vestibular disorders can greatly diminish quality of life and impact all aspects of daily living. Patients suffering from vestibular disorders often experience:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness
  • Vertigo, the sensation of spinning
  • Impaired postural control
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Reduced Focus
  • Fatigue

Secondarily, vestibular imbalance can also contribute to emotional problems like anxiety and depression. Often, people suffering from vestibular disorders also adopt a sedentary lifestyle in order to avoid the primary symptoms, like dizziness and imbalance. As a result, decreased muscle strength and flexibility, increased joint stiffness, and reduced stamina can occur.

The Causes

Vestibular disorders can also result from or be worsened by genetic or environmental conditions, or occur for unknown reasons. Most commonly, causes include inner ear infections or disorders, migraines, tumors, stroke, or head injury.

The most commonly diagnosed vestibular disorders include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis, Ménière’s disease, secondary endolymphatic hydrops, and perilymph fistula. Complications from autoimmune disorders and allergies can also cause vestibular imbalance. 

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