Balance & Dizziness

Vestibular dysfunction is a medical term used to describe problems with dizziness and balance that are caused by damage to the inner ear.

Your vestibular (balance) organ is located in your inner ear. In addition to the messages from the vestibular organs, your balance system also relies on information from your vision and the nerves/sensors in your muscles and joints. If one of these systems is damaged or doesn’t work properly, then the brain can get conflicting information, and when this occurs dizziness or imbalance can be the result.

There are many different conditions that can cause balance problems. These can be central (relating to the brain and spinal cord) or peripheral (relating to inner ear structures or cardiovascular). Therefore, not all balance problems are related to your vestibular system.

Symptoms of vestibular impairment can include: dizziness, vertigo (the sensation of the room spinning), nausea, unsteadiness, tinnitus (ringing in your ears), altered balance and falls. If you are in any doubt about your symptoms, you should contact your GP for advice.

Some common conditions that can cause vestibular dysfunction include:

  • Labyrinthitis
  • Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)
  • Mèniére’s disease
  • Mal De Debarquement Syndrome (MDDS)
  • Migrainous vertigo
  • Unilateral or bilateral vestibular hypofunction

These can be distressing and highly disabling and can severely affect day-to-day function.

Vestibular rehabilitation is based on the brain’s ability to compensate and adapt after damage (neuroplasticity). Even where damage is permanent, the body can learn to use other parts of the balance system to take over from the damaged area.

If you would like any further information or to book an appointment then please do not hesitate to contact us.