What is balance? Balance is the ability to control your body’s position, whether in a stationary position, or while moving.
Maintaining balance depends on information received by the brain from three peripheral sources: eyes, muscles and joints and vestibular organs. All three of these information sources send signals to the brain in the form of nerve impulses from nerve endings called sensory receptors
What can affect balance…. Losing your balance or feeling unbalanced can result from..
- Vision problems…. The visual system and the vestibular system work together by sending signals from the eye muscles to the balance organs in the inner ear. When you turn your head your eyes will go in the opposite direction, this is known as vestibular ocular reflex. Declining vision can affect the vestibular system which in turn has a direct impact on balance. Head injuries can have an affect on vision and balance.
- Vestibular problems…. The vestibular system includes part of the inner ear and brain that process the sensory information involved with controlling balance and eye movements. Common causes include head injuries including concussion, ageing and viral infections. Other illnesses, as well as genetics and environmental factors may also cause or contribute to vestibular problems.
- Joint or muscle problems…. Medical issues such as arthritis,Multiple sclerosis and other degenerative disorders can affect balance, but even muscle fatigue, weakness and activation firing patterns can affect balance. Muscles worked during balance include
- Gluteus medius (most underused muscle)
- Rectus and transverse abdominus
- Core muscles ( All the muscles that attach to the spine broken down into groups- back extensors, abdominals, lateral trunk muscles and the hip muscles)
- Nerve damage (peripheral neuropathy)/ impingement…. Your nervous system sends information from your brain and spinal cord to the rest of your body. If a part of this system is damaged the signals can’t be transmitted effectively. Swelling of the branch of the Vestibulocochlear nerve can also affect balance.
If you are struggling with balance please get in touch, we will be happy to help