Vertigo, Dizziness, Loss of Balance | Causes and Treatment Options

Dizziness and balance problems are serious issues that can affect many aspects of life including your ability to work, participate in activities and even your independence.

By addressing specific areas of the brain to “reactivate” the communication pathways, the brain can be stimulated and your function can be restored. At Team Health Care Clinic, we have the expertise to address specific areas of the brain to reactivate the communication pathways, stimulate the brain to restore function and ultimately resolve your dizziness issues.

Team Health Care Clinic is a great resource for patients experiencing dizziness, balance issues or vertigo.

If you or someone you know is suffering from loss of balance or dizziness, contact us for a free consultation.

Dizziness and Vertigo: The Vitamin D Connection

Each day at Team Health Care Clinic, patients come to us with symptoms of vertigo and dizziness. These may be symptoms that have been there for a matter of hours, or even years. People often experience severe bouts of dizziness, strong sensations of spinning and nausea. To help our patients get relief from these debilitating symptoms, we provide treatment and make recommendations that address the causes of dizziness and vertigo. 

What Causes Dizziness

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) is the most common cause of dizziness that we see in our Champlin clinic. This condition is caused by calcium crystals that become dislodged from their usual position in the inner ear.

How Vitamin D HelpsCauses Dizziness Vertigo

The main role of vitamin D in the body is to help maintain normal blood levels of calcium and phosphorus. Vitamin D is responsible for absorbing calcium, which plays many roles in maintaining a healthy body, including strengthening bone and decreasing fractures. Vitamin D also helps in protecting against osteoporosis, high blood pressure, cancer, and other diseases.

We are now learning about the role vitamin D plays in helping patients with dizziness and vertigo. Past studies have shown vitamin D deficiency can lead to BPPV. Additionally, research has shown that those who have BPPV and are also deficient in vitamin D have more severe symptoms of vertigo.

This two-fold role that vitamin D deficiency plays in causing BPPV and making the symptoms more severe makes it even more important that your levels are in the proper range. If you haven’t had your vitamin D levels checked before, a simple blood test can be done to see if your levels are in a functional range.

Chiropractic and Physical Therapy for Dizziness

Our chiropractors and physical therapists work with a multitude of patients who have dizziness and vertigo, including BPPV. We provide chiropractic adjustments, physical therapy, nutrition support and more to help decrease symptoms and get our patients feeling better faster.

Each of the doctors and physical therapists in our clinic are trained in repositioning the crystals in the inner ear to provide relief from the vertigo that patients experience. The name of this procedure is called an Epley Maneuver. This safe, quick, and very effective maneuver can be done in just a minute or two. Patients often feel immediate relief. 

Erik Starr, DC

Erik Starr, DC

Is My Brain Degenerating?

People often ask me, “How do I know if my brain is degenerating?” At Team Health Care Clinic, we take the health of the brain as seriously, if not more, than any other aspect of the body and of one’s health. In many areas of our body, pain will help indicate when something is wrong. Pain is not the primary means of how the brain exhibits dysfunction and thus it shows up in other ways. Common signs of brain degeneration include depression or fatigue as a result of brain-related activity, such as reading or driving. Even when these signs aren’t apparent, degeneration may still be occurring.

Having a better understanding of what each part of the brain does leads to a better understanding of what degeneration of that area may look like.

Where does brain degeneration occur?

Let’s review the two most common regions that we see degeneration in the brain occurring in our practice.

Frontal Lobe

The frontal lobe sits behind the forehead and is the largest lobe of the brain. This area of the brain is what separates humans from other animals, as it gives us personality. It allows us to suppress impulses such as violent tendencies and socially unacceptable behavior, and provides emotional drive, planning, and motivation. It is also the area that is developmentally delayed in those with ADD/ADHD. When this area becomes impaired due to degenerative changes, depression, laziness, inability to control impulses, poor judgment and social behavior, and mental sluggishness may arise.

Cerebellum

The cerebellum is the “little brain” that sits off of the back end of the brain under the base of the skull. When it comes to the function of the cerebellum it’s easiest to think of a DUI test that a police officer may perform, as alcohol suppresses the cerebellum. The test entails looking at balance, coordination, and spatial awareness. The cerebellum receives information from eyes, muscles, and the inner ears to calibrate proper movements, and allowing us to know where we are in space. Do you struggle with frequent episodes of dizziness or vertigo? Have poor balance? Easily carsick? Or have subtle shakes at the end of hand or finger movements? These may be early signs that your cerebellum is degenerating.

Identifying early signs of brain degeneration

It is crucial that your medical provider can look for and identify these early signs of an aging brain. In our medical system, most physicians aren’t trained on how to identify and manage early stages of brain degeneration until it has progressed beyond the point of return. For example, Parkinson’s disease often isn’t identified until someone has a resting tremor. In contrast,  chronic constipation, loss of smell, or slowness of movement may be an early sign of the disease. By the time symptoms such as a tremor are present, the disease has progressed enough that little can be done functionally to address the severity of the condition and focus changes to prevention of further progression. This is why being aware of the early warning signs of brain degeneration is critical.

Here at Team Health Care Clinic, we utilize in depth neurological exams, Interactive Metronome, BTrackS Balance Plate assessments, lab tests, and at times Neurofeedback as part of our neurological work ups to assess the brain health of our patients. If you or anyone you know may be suffering from the changes mentioned in this blog, don’t wait! Call our office today for a free consultation.

Erik Starr, DC

Improving Balance with Physical Therapy

At Team Health Care Clinic in Champlin, MN our team sees clients daily that have trouble with balance. Physical therapists offer many different techniques to treat balance with attention to your specific needs. Trouble with balance makes it difficult for people to hold themselves upright and steady when they are trying to walk, stand and even sit. Although the risk of having poor balance increases with age, balance issues are common in every age group.

What causes loss of balance?

There are 4 areas that help our bodies control balance:

  • Vision
  • Inner ear (vestibular)
  • Proprioception and muscle control
  • Brain – coordinates all of these systems to help us maintain our balance.

Medical conditions and lifestyle factors may contribute to a loss of balance, including:

  • Poor joint mobility
  • Muscle weakness
  • Inner ear problems
  • Medications
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Medical conditions such as a Stroke or Parkinsons’ disease

Poor Balance: What does it feel like?

A person with a balance issue may feel swaying, dizziness, vertigo, tripping, stumbling, and many times touching walls and furniture as they walk. Balance can be fine in a static position doing just 1 thing at a time. But when you try dynamic movements with multiple tasks, such as walking and looking at the shelves in the grocery store, or using the bathroom in the dark at night, the difficulty with balance can be more pronounced. These are all indications that a person’s balance is affected and needs to be addressed.

How Can My Physical Therapist Help?

Our physical therapists and chiropractors at Team Health Care are trained to assess the multiple systems affecting balance. We test the inner ear, muscle strength, joint range of motion, visual tracking, sensation, and body position awareness. In physical therapy we will also perform a balance test. In some cases it may be recommended that you use an assistive device such as a cane or a walker. We know this can be a difficult transition, and the assistive device doing more than just preventing you from falling. In therapy we look at it from the perspective of facilitating a “normal” movement pattern for your body to help improve your balance. This is only one part of the many movements and techniques we use to improve your balance. We will develop a specific treatment for you including movements and exercises you can do at home.

You don’t have to sustain a fall to have your balance assessed. I you are experiencing any difficulty with equilibrium, walking, standing or don’t feel confident in your balance it is important to seek your provider to have your systems that control balance assessed.

Andrea Newport, PT

Andrea Newport, PT