Out of Balance?

Balance is the ability to maintain the body’s centre of mass over its base of support. A properly functioning balance system allows us to:

•       See clearly while moving

•       Identify orientation with respect to gravity

•       Determine direction and speed of movement

•       Make automatic adjustments to maintain posture and stability in various conditions and activities

Our balance is determined by three different body systems. The first being our eyesight, the second are the semi-circular canals (vestibular system) within our inner ears and the third being Proprioception which uses nerves called mechanoreceptors within all muscles and tendons, a high proportion of which are located within our neck muscles. All these systems are communicating with our brain which then makes appropriate responses.

Vertigo and dizziness affect 20-30 percent of the general population, with the majority being older women. In vertigo, the patient experiences spinning, loss of balance, and occasionally nausea. It can manifest in a sitting or sleeping posture, or only show once the patient stands up or walks around. Modern medicine distinguishes three types of vertigo. In objective vertigo, the patient has the sensation that the environment is moving. In subjective vertigo, the patient feels as if he or she is moving, and in pseudo-vertigo, there is a sensation of rotation inside the patient's head. Diagnoses include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Ménière's disease and vestibular neuritis. It may also be due to trauma, fever, migraine, and excessive alcohol consumption.

In acute situations, chiropractic adjustments are the first therapy to consider as it addresses any neck dysfunction, and can often relieve the situation immediately. Chiropractors can also treat cases of vertigo that are due to dysfunction of the grains in the canals of the inner ear, and the manoeuvre tests for, and releases these grains by gravity. It can be quite effective, and patients can learn to do it themselves.