Balance problems cause dizziness and make you feel as though
you’re spinning or moving when you’re actually standing or sitting still. As a
result, you may not feel well, and this may interfere with your daily life.
Balance issues can lead to falls, which can cause broken bones and other
What Are the Symptoms of Balance Problems?
The primary symptoms of balance problems are dizziness and
the feeling that the room is spinning. It may be difficult to walk without
falling. Other symptoms include:
- blurred vision
- nausea and vomiting
- mental confusion or disorientation
- feelings of depression, fear, or anxiety
- difficulty concentrating
- blood pressure and heart rate changes
What Causes Balance Problems?
Causes of balance problems include:
- infections of your ear
- inner ear problems
- head injury
- poor blood circulation
- certain medications
- chemical imbalance in your brain
- low blood pressure
- high blood pressure
- neurological conditions
- Vertigo causes dizziness when you move your
head. The symptoms usually occur when you look behind you or look up to reach
for an item positioned above your head.
- Inner ear infection or inflammation can make you
feel dizzy and unsteady. The flu or an upper respiratory infection can cause
- Meniere’s disease changes the volume of fluid in
your ear, causing balance problems, hearing loss, and ringing in your ears. Its
cause is unknown.
- Head injury, strenuous physical activity, ear
infections, and atmospheric pressure changes can cause inner ear fluid to leak
into your middle ear. This can cause balance problems.
- Sea travel can cause balance problems that may
take hours, days, or months to clear up.
- A tumor, such as an acoustic neuroma, can also
cause balance problems.
Who Is at Risk of Balance Problems?
You may be at risk of balance problems if you’re on
medication, suffering from a viral infection, experiencing inner ear problems,
or recovering from a head injury. If you’re over 65 years old and have arthritis
or high or low blood pressure, your risk of balance problems is higher.
Traveling on a boat or ship may also cause temporary balance problems.
How Are Balance Problems Diagnosed?
Balance problems are difficult to address because they may
be caused by numerous factors. Your doctor may ask about your symptoms and
conduct a review of your medical history for related conditions and
In some cases, you may be referred to an ear, nose, and
throat specialist. They may run the following tests to pinpoint the cause and
intensity of the problem:
- blood tests
- hearing exams
- eye movement tests
- imaging scans of your brain and head, such as an
MRI or CT scan
- posturography, which is a study of your posture
How Are Balance Problems Treated?
Balance problems are sometimes corrected by addressing the
underlying health condition. They may be treated with medication, surgery,
dietary changes, physical therapy, or exercises you can do at home.
Your doctor will review your medications and might replace
them or adjust your dosage. If your condition is caused by a bacterial ear
infection, your doctor might prescribe an antibiotic to cure it. If you have
symptoms of nausea, they may prescribe antinausea medication. Your doctor might
also inject small doses of corticosteroids behind your eardrum to decrease
If you have Meniere’s disease, your doctor may recommend
surgery on your vestibular system, which makes up your inner ear and affects
To relieve vertigo, your doctor may prescribe activities
that can be done at home or with the help of a rehabilitation therapist. A
common technique that can be performed at home is the Epley maneuver. It
involves sitting up and then quickly resting on your back and turning your head
to one side. After a couple of minutes, you sit back up. Your doctor will
probably show you this technique in their office, and you can repeat it at home
to reduce or eliminate dizziness.
If the cause of your balance problem is unknown or incurable,
your doctor might instruct you on various ways to reduce your risk of injury.
You may require assistance when using the restroom or climbing stairs. Using a
cane or handrails at home may also be necessary. It’s generally best to avoid
driving if your condition is severe.
Your doctor might also make recommendations to address your
overall health. These might include exercising, quitting smoking, limiting
caffeine and alcohol, reducing your salt intake, and eating well-balanced
Balance problems can be temporary or a long-term issue,
depending on what causes them. If you have an ear infection or have just
traveled on a boat, the condition generally clears up in time with treatment.
However, if the cause is unknown or the issues are a result of chronic
conditions or aging, the symptoms may continue indefinitely.
Speak with your doctor to learn more about your condition
Most balance problems are difficult to prevent. However, you
can address those that are associated with blood pressure issues. Prevent low
blood pressure by drinking more water and avoiding alcohol. Avoid high blood
pressure by exercising regularly, limiting your salt intake, and maintaining a