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6 conditions that cause balance issues and how physical therapy can help

Balance Physical Therapy
3 minutes, 49 seconds

Do you struggle to walk down the sidewalk without tripping or nearly falling over? Do you have trouble sitting and standing up from your chair? Maybe you frequently find yourself stumbling or falling into objects. If this sounds like you, you may be dealing with a balance and gait disorder. Balance can be affected by a variety of problems and conditions. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to those who have poor balance. Want to learn more about the conditions that affect balance and how they can be treated? Keep reading.

What are some of the possible causes of poor balance?

  • Poor walking or gait patterns.
  • Medication.
  • Ear infections.
  • Vestibular conditions.
  • Neurological disorders.
  • Nerve damage.
  • Vision issues.
  • Muscle issues.
  • Joint instability.

What are some of the possible symptoms of poor balance?

  • Frequent falls — One possible symptom of poor balance is frequent falling. A person may fall over often if they’re dealing with balance issues.
  • Difficulty sitting or standing — Another common symptom of poor balance is difficulty sitting down or standing up. It may be hard to sit up straight in a chair, even. 
  • Stumbling when walking — If you stumble or frequently trip when you walk, you may be dealing with a balance issue. 
  • Dizziness or lightheadedness — Experiencing dizziness or lightheadedness when standing, and even when sitting, can cause poor balance and may indicate a balance-affecting disorder.
  • Poor vision — Many people with poor vision will also have trouble keeping their balance.

What specific types of conditions can cause balance and gait disorders?

What treatment methods may help improve your balance?

Fortunately, poor balance can be helped. There are a few different treatment methods out there for those who struggle with this condition. Each treatment method has a unique set of advantages and disadvantages. Take a look at some of the methods listed below to determine which sounds like the best fit for you:

  • Physical therapy — One of the main treatment methods available for those who are dealing with balance issues is physical therapy. Physical therapists are specially trained to treat people who may not be able to walk, sit and complete other activities with ease due to poor balance. They’ll ask you to perform a series of balance retraining exercises through a vestibular rehabilitation program. These exercises will be unique to your situation and physical capabilities. Through a series of PT sessions, you and your therapist will work to improve your balance and functionality.
  • Canalith repositioning — If the source of your balance problem is BPPV, you may benefit from canalith repositioning. This treatment method involves removing and repositioning the tiny particles inside your ear with the goal of improving balance and any other BPPV-related symptoms.
  • Medication — Some cases of poor balance may be caused by medication. However, medication may be necessary to treat poor balance symptoms like nausea or dizziness.
  • Surgery, in some cases — Surgery may be helpful in more severe cases of balance issues, but may not be recommended for everyone.

What are some physical therapy techniques that can improve your balance?

  • Heel-to-toe walking — One physical therapy technique that is often used to improve balance is heel-to-toe walking. This is performed by walking in a straight line while touching the heel on one foot to the tips of the toes on the other. This technique is often difficult for those with balance problems to perform at first but should get easier with practice.
  • Chair sits — Another technique that can be used during physical therapy to improve balance is chair sits. This exercise may sound simple but can take some abdominal strength and muscle coordination to perform. It involves getting up from a chair and sitting back down, repeatedly. Over time, this exercise can build muscle and coordination, improving balance.
  • Single leg raise — This exercise is performed by raising one leg off the ground at a time. Your physical therapist will ask you to bend the knee and hold this position for a few moments at a time, depending on your balance. The goal is to be able to lift your leg up for longer and longer periods of time with less trouble.

Alliance PTP can help find expert physical therapists near you to address poor balance

At Alliance Physical Therapy Partners, we’re proudly bringing together physical therapy practices across the country to help people get the high-quality PT they need. 

Want to see a physical therapist in person? We can put you in touch with an Alliance PTP partner that’s close to you and that can help you address any issues with balance that you may be experiencing. Physical therapy may be the right treatment method for you and has the potential to improve your balance issues so that you can walk, sit and move with better ease. 

Not keen on in-person PT sessions or not close to an Alliance PTP partner? No worries. We also offer effective and affordable virtual physical therapy through our Agile Virtual Physical Therapy platform. 

Come find help for your injury or chronic condition today!


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