A healthy person takes their sense of balance for granted.
When someone says they are dizzy it can mean many things: giddiness; being “off balance”; floating; motion sickness and nausea; or feeling that the world or you are moving (vertigo).
Usually, your inner ears, eyes and joints (especially in your legs and neck) send messages to your brain about where you are in space and how you are moving. Your brain then organizes and ‘reads’ this information and sends messages to your eyes and body, so that you and your eyes can be in the right place at the right time! If any of these messages are incorrect or if your brain is mixing the messages, you might feel dizzy.
One recent large study estimates that as many as 35% of adults aged 40 years or older have experienced some form of vestibular dysfunction, and 80% of people aged over 65 years have experienced dizziness at some time!
Balance problems can be simply annoying…..or they can be debilitating making it difficult to live your normal life. Dizziness and balance problems can also lead to “brain fog” and tiredness, neck and back pain, loss of confidence, depression, financial pressures, and stress on relationships.
If you would like more information about dizziness, vertigo or other problems related to balance, go to our resource page.
Some of the conditions that might cause vertigo, dizziness or balance problems are:
• Neuritis or inflammation of the inner ear
• BPPV (where debris is floating in the inner ear and causing faulty signals to be sent to the brain)
• Acoustic neuroma (growth on the ear’s nerve)
• Meniere’s Disease
• Disequilibrium due to ageing
• Persistent motion or sea sickness (Mal de Barquement)
• Head injury or neurological problems (such as Multiple Sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke)
• Neck problems
As there are many other medical conditions that can causes dizziness, for example, heart problems or reactions to medication, please seek medical attention urgently if you are experiencing: a different or severe headache, speech impairment; leg or arm weakness; loss of consciousness, numbness or tingling, chest pain or rapid or slow heart rate.