Balance Treatment Options
Dizziness, loss of balance, and lightheadedness are among the most frequent reasons people seek medical attention. Because dizziness is not a disease, but a symptom that indicates a problem may exist somewhere in the body, it has many causes.
In most cases, the problem is related to a change in the vestibular system (the parts of the inner ear and brain that help control balance, eye movements and body.
Tests developed in recent years have enabled physicians to diagnose some vestibular disorders that previously could not be documented. All of these tests are painless and most people tolerate them well. They include:
- Electronystagmography (ENG/VNG) is the standard for measuring the vestibular system using infrared video recording of eye movements.
- The Rotary Chair Test provides another means of assessing the inner ear using video infrared recording of the eye movements.
- Computerized Dynamic Posturography (CDP) is a noninvasive procedure used to assess daily functional balance and stability under changing support surfaces and visual environments.
- The Audiometric (Hearing) Test evaluates hearing status because both hearing and balance areas of the inner ear may be affected by the same disease.
- Brainstem Evoked Auditory Response (BAER/ABR) testing allows assessment of the entire auditory pathway from the ear through the brainstem.
- Vestibular Evoked Myogenic Potential (VEMP) testing provides information about the saccule (an inner ear balance organ) and the inferior vestibular nerve.
- Electrocochleography is used to identify an inner ear condition called cochlear hydrops (also known as Meniere’s disease).
Treatment for balance disorders varies according to the diagnosis and may include vestibular rehabilitation and balance retraining with a physical therapist; medication; diet changes; and, in rare cases, surgery.