Loss Of Balance While Walking Caused Due To Ear Problems And Vertigo
Inner ear is mainly in charge of the vestibular system, which takes control of the balance system. Inner ear problems like labyrinthitis, Menieres disease middle ear problems like otitis media with middle ear effusion can cause loss of balance while walking.
Vertigo, is a dizzy feeling with loss of balance when moving. Any injury to the inner ear, migraine, vestibular neuritis or positional vertigo can cause loss of balance while walking. Other symptoms may include dizziness, nausea, motion sickness, blurring of vision, etc. Sometimes, tinnitus or ringing sounds may be heard in the ears or there may be fullness in ears.
Vertigo can sometimes result from sudden changes in posture and resultant low blood pressure . Fainting or near fainting conditions can occur causing loss of balance while walking. Vertigo can sometimes be an indication of more serious conditions like stroke, in which case there may be sudden changes in speech, weakness or pain in face or arm. Other conditions causing vertigo and loss of balance while walking include multiple sclerosis and disorders of brain like brain hemorrhage.
What Causes Balance Disorders
Causes of balance problems include medications, ear infection, a head injury, or anything else that affects the inner ear or brain. Low blood pressure can lead to dizziness when you stand up too quickly. Problems that affect the skeletal or visual systems, such as arthritis or eye muscle imbalance, can also cause balance disorders. Your risk of having balance problems increases as you get older.
Unfortunately, many balance disorders start suddenly and with no obvious cause.
What Can Cause Loss Of Balance While Walking
Loss of balance while walking may be experienced by many people at some point or other during their life. People have different gaits and styles of walking and the presentation of loss of balance can vary from person to person. Aged people may experience loss of balance while walking more often. While this is a common phenomenon, it could also indicate an underlying medical problem. Particularly, if the loss of balance while walking is experienced more often and in association with other complaints, it is better to seek medical opinion.
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Why Walking Is Good For Your Knees
Your knee joint is composed of bone and cartilage. Cartilage doesn’t have a blood supply that is always nourishing it by the pumping action of the heart and so it relies on joint fluid for nutrition. Moving your joints is the way that you ensure the cartilage receives the nourishment it needs to stay healthy.
You may notice that your joints are stiff and sore in the morning or when you’ve been sitting and inactive during the day. By moving your joints, you help them maintain their function and you may help keep them functioning longer.
Regular exercise maintains and builds muscles, which you need to support your knee and maintain functioning. Weight-bearing exercise such as walking also helps maintain bone health.
Discuss your exercise options with your doctor and physical therapist when you have any condition that is causing knee pain. While walking is recommended for many people, it may not be appropriate for you.
Indoor/gym/class Cardio For Joint Pain
Remember: higher-impact, more intense workouts are not for everyone. Most important is to keep moving in a way that feels comfortable and safe for you.
- Yard work
Protect your injuries. If you have known knee problems and are downhill skiing or playing basketball, be careful when pivoting, stopping, or jumping.
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Others Causes For Loss Of Balance While Walking
Other conditions that can cause loss of balance involve head injury, trauma to the brain or concussion, skull fractures, temporomandibular joint disorders, circulatory disorders affecting adequate blood circulation in the body, tumors and cancers affecting the brain, face and neck area. Nutritional deficiencies due to inadequate vitamins can affect normal nerve signals and cause loss of balance while walking.
Common occurrences like aging, pregnancy, lack of proper sleep, rise in body temperature or fever due to an infection, electrolyte imbalance due to excessive water loss, consumption of alcohol or inadequate consumption of food or water too can cause unsteady gait and sometimes contribute to loss of balance while walking.
Anatomy And Function Of The Gluteus Maximus Muscle
Traditional anatomy texts teach us that the gluteus maximus muscle originates on the back of the pelvis and lower back area, travels across the back of the hips and attaches on the outside of both the upper and lower leg .1,2,4 We also learn from these books that the function of the gluteus maximus muscle is to help push the hips forward and rotate the leg outwards.2
Figure 1: Anatomy of the Gluteus Maximus Muscle
However, information on functional anatomy teaches us that this muscle works very differently during weight-bearing activities like walking, running, lunging and squatting.3,4 During these activities this muscle works in a lengthening fashion like a bungee cord to help decelerate both the upper and lower leg as they move forward, side to side and over the foot. In this regard, the gluteus maximus muscle is directly involved in decelerating stress to the knee and helping reduce pain and injury to this area .3,4
Figure 2: Real-life Function of the Gluteus Maximus Muscle
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How To Practice Squatting
Squatting can help build leg and hip strength, leading to more stable joints. Over time, your range of motion will increase.
As long as youre able to practice with minimal knee joint discomfort, its safe to include squats in your exercise routine.
People with arthritis may find the most benefit in wall squats, since squatting against the wall can help reduce your risk of putting unnecessary or incorrect pressure on your knees.
To do a basic squat:
Keep the knee over the ankle and not over the ball of the foot, Bell cautions.
If you begin to experience intense pain at any point more than your typical knee pain you should stop the practice for the day.
Be sure to give the move another try during your next practice. Youll find that your pain threshold increases as you build up muscle strength.
Do I Have A Balance Problem Questions To Ask Yourself
You can help identify a balance problem by asking yourself some key questions. If you answer “yes” to any of these questions, discuss the symptom with your doctor.
- Do I feel unsteady?
- Do I feel as if the room is spinning around me, even only for brief periods of time?
- Do I feel as if I’m moving when I know I’m standing or sitting still?
- Do I lose my balance and fall?
- Do I feel as if I’m falling?
- Do I feel lightheaded, or as if I might faint?
- Does my vision become blurred?
- Do I ever feel disoriented, losing my sense of time, place, or identity?
If you think that you have a balance disorder, schedule an appointment with your doctor. Your doctor may refer you to an otolaryngologist, a doctor with special training in problems of the ear, nose, throat, head, and neck.
Balance disorders can be signs of other health problems, such as an ear infection, stroke, or multiple sclerosis. In some cases, you can help treat a balance disorder by seeking medical treatment for the illness that is causing the disorder.
Some exercises help make up for a balance disorder by moving the head and body in certain ways. The exercises are developed especially for a patient by a professional who understands the balance system and its relationship with other systems in the body.
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Symptoms Of Vestibular Disorders
The inner ear is the HQ for the bodysbalance, or vestibular, system. When something goes awry with that system, awhole range of symptoms can result, including:
- Struggling to walk in a dark room.
- Veering left or right when walking.
- Dizziness or vertigo .
- Stumbling or feeling unstable on your feet.
- Sensitivity or difficulty with vision and hearing.
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 review your medical history for related conditions and medications.
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
- exercises you can do at home
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Reducing The Strain On Your Knees
Apart from keeping an eye on your weight, there are a number of other ways you can reduce the strain on your knees.
- Pace your activities dont tackle all your physical jobs at once. Break the harder jobs up into chunks and do something gentler in between. Keep using your knee even if its slightly uncomfortable, but rest it before it becomes too painful.
- Wear shoes with thick soles and enough room for your toes. Wearing the right shoes can reduce the shock through your knees as you walk and prevent any changes to your feet.
- If you need extra support for your feet or knees when you walk, speak to your physiotherapist, occupational therapist or doctor about getting insoles made for your shoes.
- Use a walking stick if needed to reduce the weight and stress on a painful knee. An occupational therapist can advise on the correct length and the best way to use the stick.
- Use a handrail for support when going up or down stairs. Go upstairs one at a time with your good leg first.
- Think about making changes to your home, car or workplace to reduce unnecessary strain. An occupational therapist can advise you on special equipment that will make things you do every day easier.
Using a heat pack or something similar on a painful knee might help to relieve the pain and stiffness of osteoarthritis. An ice pack can also help but be careful not to put ice or heat packs or hot water bottles directly on your skin wrap them with a tea towel or cover.
Feeling Off Balance A Nerve Condition May Be To Blame
Problems that affect balance can make you feel dizzy or as if the room is spinning and you’re going to fall. At times, you may feel unsure or unsteady on your feet, as if your brain and legs are disconnected.
Many body systems, including your brain, nerves, muscles, bones, joints, eyes, inner ear and blood vessels, must work together to maintain normal balance. When any of these systems aren’t functioning well, you can experience balance problems. Occasionally, balance concerns are caused by issues with your central nervous system, including your brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves.
Determine when your balance issues started
Many people dismiss balance issues as a normal part of aging. While this is true to an extent, any noticeable change in your balance is important to bring to the attention of your health care team. A rapid deterioration versus a gradual decline in balance is important information to determine the urgency needed to be evaluated by a health care provider.
If you notice gradual changes, such as needing to hold the stair rail or grab the counter occasionally, you should contact your primary care provider. He or she can evaluate you for signs of more concerning symptoms. In some cases, it could be something simple, such as dehydration, or benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, which can be treated in a few therapy sessions.
Nerve conditions that can affect balance
Treatment options for balance issues
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But Treatments To Improve Strength Balance May Guard Against Injuries Disability Researchers Say
THURSDAY, Feb. 11, 2016 — A new study supports what many American seniors may already know: that knee “instability” boosts their odds for a dangerous fall.
“Falls, injury from falls and poor balance confidence are extremely common and debilitating problems in older people,” said study author Michael Nevitt, a professor of epidemiology and biostatistics at the University of California, San Francisco.
“The present study has demonstrated for the first time that knee instability and knee buckling are important causes of these problems in the very large segment of the older population suffering from knee pain,” Nevitt added.
Therefore, doctors should make treating knee instability a priority among older patients, the researchers said.
Often triggered by weak muscles and poor balance, knee buckling is common among older people and those with knee osteoarthritis, the researchers explained. Along with sustaining serious injuries from falls, older people may develop fears about losing their balance and falling again.
The scientists examined the association between knee buckling among older people and their health and quality of life. The study involved more than 1,800 people whose average age was 67 when the study began. The participants either had knee osteoarthritis or were at high risk for the condition.
The researchers said doctors should talk to patients with knee osteoarthritis about their balance and whether their knees buckle.
Can Back Problems Cause Knee Pain
In a word: yes. But it gets more complicated than that. The line from back pain to knee pain may not always seem easy to draw. Can back injury cause knee pain? Can a pinched nerve in your back cause knee pain? Can lower back pain cause hip and knee pain? The answer to all these questions is yes. But how?
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Balance And The Stages Of Alzheimers / Dementia
Balance issues in the early stages of Alzheimers disease is not normal. Someone with Alzheimers typically doesnt experience difficulty staying upright until the later stages, when communication between brain cells has become so compromised that most basic physical actions, including things like swallowing, become harder.
If someone with Alzheimers exhibits trouble with balance in the early stages, this could indicate a rarer form of the disease. Posterior cortical atrophy , also called Bensons Syndrome, is a variant of Alzheimers disease that disrupts the back of the brain, responsible for vision and coordination. PCA can develop earlier in a persons life than typical Alzheimers, usually in the mid-50s or early 60s. The first symptoms are changes in vision, making tasks like reading a line of text more difficult. Spacial awareness, including the ability to judge distances, becomes compromised. Someone with PCA may not be able to tell if objects are moving or not, and distinguishing multiple objects at once can also become too hard. These symptoms may combine to put a person off-balance. About five percent of cases of Alzheimers are PCA.
Solutions For Balance Problems Associated With Dementia
Balance could be considered a skill, something your loved one can improve with practice. Below are tips to make balance problems less dangerous, and to improve the ability to move around more easily.
Make the Home Safer
To make balance less of an issue, your loved ones home should be as easy to navigate as possible. Try these steps: Continually pick up and put away any obstacles on the floor, like shoes or clothes, that your loved one may trip over or need to steer around. Remove throw rugs, or secure them with double-sided tape. Keep useful items within reach, so your loved one neednt strain to reach or use a stepping stool. Install grab bars in the bathroom by the toilet and in the shower or tub. Keep the house well lit, even at night, so your loved one has an easier time seeing. Any staircase should have a handrail. Avoid slippers or shoes that have deep treads. Footwear with thin non-slip soles is best.
Exercise lowers anxiety and improves memory in people with dementia, so its important that your loved one be as active as possible in any stage. Almost any physical activity that gets a person moving is good for Alzheimers symptoms, but these low-impact workouts can particularly help improve balance, in part by strengthening leg muscles and maintaining bone density:
Calf Raises: 1. Have your loved one stand holding the back of a chair.2. Lift the heels, raising up onto tiptoes as high as possible.3. Return heels to floor.4. Repeat 10 times.
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What’s Causing Your Back Pain
There are plenty of possible causes for a hurt back. Overuse, especially without proper stretching, can strain your back. Or you may UNDER use your back. If you have a job where you sit all day, your back muscles and buttox muscles may be weak, and not provide proper support to your spinal cord. Poor posture can put a lot of pressure on the lumbar spine .
You may also have a medical condition that causes pain, like spinal stenosis . Sciatica pain is a fairly common cause for back and knee problems. You may have chronic pain from something like osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis. Without management, the pain can start affecting your knees, hips, and ankles.
A back injury may be one of the more concerning causes of back pain. Any injury to your back or spinal cord could cause some serious damage. If you’ve had a recent back or spine injury, make sure to talk to your doctor as soon as possible.