Dizziness, Vertigo & Balance Disorders
Balance disorders, which often present symptoms of feeling unsteady, woozy, or sensations of spinning, moving, floating, or falling, are often due to problems within the inner ear. The inner ear interacts with the eyes and brain and contributes to balance. Treatment for balance disorders depend on the underlying condition. Some patients find rehabilitation and lifestyle changes effective in reducing symptoms and in rare cases, surgery can help.
Dizziness, Vertigo & Balance Disorders Treatments
Even when the causes of dizziness and balance disorders aren’t known, there are typical medication options that often address symptoms. For example, those with Meniere’s disease may be prescribed water pills. When combined with a low-salt diet, the frequency of dizzy episodes may be reduced. Some antihistamines and anticholinergics can offer short-term relief from vertigo. Transdermal scopolamine patches offer continuous dosing. Anti-nausea medications may help, though drowsiness is often a side effect. Anti-anxiety medications, such as Valium and Xanax, may also reduce symptoms, but drowsiness is also an issue with these drugs.
When vertigo and dizziness result from inner ear disorders, vestibular rehabilitation therapy (VRT) offers a treatment that reduces both primary and secondary symptoms of the condition. Comprised of exercises that reduce dizziness, vertigo, and nausea, VRT augments the natural balance function of the ear by recruiting input from other senses. This often happens naturally, over time, for patients with long-term vestibular disorders. VRT may speed the process in patients who otherwise see no improvement in their conditions over time. Three types of VRT exercise are balance training, gaze stabilizing, and habituation. A combination of exercises may be customized to provide maximum benefits on an individual patient basis.