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Vestibular Balance Issues: Physical Therapy Has Helped Countless Individuals Find Relief

By Kaylee Weber, PT, DPT, Clinic Manager
ApexNetwork Physical Therapy – Gillespie, IL Clinic

Vestibular Balance Issues: Physical Therapy Has Helped Countless Individuals Find Relief At least 50 percent of the U.S. population will develop a balance issue, at some point in their lives. Balance disorders typically happen to the aging population, between the ages of 50 to 75, and most of these are related to vestibular disruptions.

Patients suffering from vestibular-related disorders frequently experience vertigo, dizziness, nausea, migraines, gait issues (walking), and imbalance. In addition, many patients complain of mood changes and cognitive impairment. Usually, these symptoms stem from issues in the inner ear. More than 69 million Americans have experienced some form of vestibular problems in their lifetime, and that number is on the rise.

BPPV: The most common form of vestibular complications is Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo or BPPV.

• Benign –Not life-threatening
• Paroxysmal –Brief spells that come and go
• Positional – Triggered by certain head positions or movements
• Vertigo – A false sense of rotational movement

Tiny calcium crystals (otoconia) in the inner ear that slough off and get lodged in the fluid of the ear canals (labyrinth) usually are the cause of BPPV.  Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo can be effectively treated with one of two simple manual therapies that move the crystals through the ear, improving and in many cases alleviating vertigo and the sensations of dizziness.  These therapies can be performed in the convenience of ApexNetwork Physical Therapy’s office setting, along with other restorative balance treatment methods.

It’s dangerous to leave vestibular disorders untreated.  If you have balance issues, your likelihood of suffering a fall with possible complications like broken bones, or impingements, which cause limited range-of-motion is much higher.

Not to mention that the unpleasant side effects of nausea and painful headaches can be alleviated through the proper treatment, which will help you to get back to living a good quality of life.

The National Council on Aging has published some alarming statistics gathered from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention regarding falls in the aging population. These statistics include:

1. One in four Americans over the age of 65 fall each year.
2. An older adult is treated for a fall in the emergency room every 11 seconds across the country.
3. Unfortunately, every 19 minutes, an older adult dies as a result from a fall.
4. In older adults, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of trauma-related, nonfatal hospital admissions.
5. In 2014 alone, the total cost of fall injuries was $31 billion!
6. By 2020, it is projected that the financial cost for older adult falls is expected to increase as the population ages, which could very well reach $67.7 billion.

At ApexNetwork Physical Therapy, we offer numerous services to the community to help keep you safe and fall-free:

1. Free Vertigo Screenings– If you’re noticing the “room is spinning” or you’re feeling a little dizzy with changing positions, this can increase your risk of falling as well. Many of our Apex clinics have clinicians trained in Vestibular Therapy (treating the “vestibular” system, which is your balance system in your body). With this training, the therapist can help determine the cause of your dizziness with certain testing or help determine if there is more of an underlying factor for your dizziness. If Vestibular Therapy would be beneficial, your evaluating therapist can get an order from your doctor to continue with treatment for physical therapy, which would improve your balance and stability while decreasing your risk for falling.

2. Free Balance Screenings– If you’re feeling a little uneasy on your feet, our therapists are willing and able to perform balance screenings with the most up-to-date “gold standard” balance tests, proven by research. If significant balance deficits are found, the evaluating therapist can educate you on proper body awareness, assess if any type of assistive device (walker, cane, etc.) is needed, or can send a prescription to your primary care physician for further physical therapy visits to address the balance deficits and decrease your overall fall risk.

3. Free Injury Screenings- If you’re having aches and pains that you aren’t used to, ApexNetwork Physical Therapy offers free injury screenings for these aches and pains. If therapy is warranted, the evaluating therapist will work with you to get a prescription from your primary care physician for continued therapy visits to improve his aches and pains, making you safer and feeling more equipped to address these pains with an exercise program for home.

With these screenings, all you have to do is call or drop in to your local ApexNetwork Physical Therapy, and the staff at that clinic will assist you with all of your needs. Our goal is to keep you safe and active, which means keeping you off the ground and on your feet.

ApexNetwork Physical Therapy locations in Kentucky:

Frenchburg
814 Highway 36
(606) 393-0953

Mt. Sterling
513 Maysville Road
(859) 878-2890

Morehead
272 Kroger Center Drive
(606) 393-0304

Stanton
156 W. College Ave.
(606) 393-6505

Sources: https://www.ncoa.org/news/resources-for-reporters/get-the-facts/falls-prevention-facts/

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