There are over 200 medical conditions that can cause dizziness and balance disorders. Many terms are used to describe balance problems.
Understanding the exact nature of a balance disturbance helps our experts diagnose conditions more accurately. Dizziness is a sensation of lightheadedness, faintness, or unsteadiness. Vertigo has a rotational, spinning component, and is the perception of movement, either of the self or surrounding objects. Disequilibrium refers to unsteadiness, imbalance, or loss of equilibrium that is often accompanied by spatial disorientation.
The feeling of disequilibrium without the spinning sensation is sometimes related to the inner ear while vertigo is frequently due to an inner ear disorder.
Our balance is maintained by input from vision, nerves of the muscles and joints, and the vestibular system (inner ear) which is processed into meaningful information by the central vestibular system (brainstem). Our bodies are able to compensate for variances in vision or nerve input, however abnormalities in the inner ear are more difficult to process resulting in the sensations of dizziness, vertigo or disequilibrium.
Determining the cause of dizziness and balance disorders is extremely complex. At Pacific Eye, Ear & Skull Base Center our otolaryngologists, neuro-ophthalmologists and neurosurgeons use a team based approach to evaluate and treat balance disorders effectively. In some cases, treatment may include medication administered by intratympanic injection. Vestibular rehabilitation (balance therapy) may be recommended to help manage symptoms of balance disorders.