Balance and the knowing of where one is in space is a very complex process that we often take for granted until our brains no longer work the way they should resulting in its impairment. Balance issues can range from just a feeling of unsteadiness to severe forms of the sensation of movement often termed as vertigo. It is a severe problem in the United States as the majority of deaths in the elderly are from accidental falls most often attributed to balance issues.
In order for one to know where they are in space the brain relies on information from 3 major systems in the body:
The Proprioceptive System:
This system using nerve endings in muscles, ligaments and joints and sends this information to the brain to create a body image of where we are in space
The Vestibular System:
This system using information proved from nerve endings located in fluid filled canals in our skull to give the brain information about how are bodies are moving in space
The Visual System:
This system uses nerve endings in the eyes and thus visual cues to tell the brain the bodies orientation in space
Dizziness often arises from damage of anyone of these systems and inherently produces what is known a sensory mismatch. The problem that this creates for the brain is that what has taken us a life time to learn with regards to being able to stand upright is suddenly changed and the brain can no longer compensate, thus we experience movement when movement does not really exist. For many of these conditions the brains attempt to compensate for the sensory mismatch long term is to reduce movement by increasing muscle stiffness/tone. We have all heard of people who complain of chronic neck and back stiffness, who have to walk more slowly or use a cane, when they turn seldom move their necks but instead slowly turn with their bodies and are bothered in crowds or around moving objects such as cars and people. These for the most part are all a result of the sensory mismatch and the brains attempt to compensate.
Our treatment of dizziness and vertigo incorporates the latest scientific information and the application of functional neurological techniques which is one of the fastest growing specialties in the chiropractic profession. We incorporate very specific testing and examination techniques that allow us to functionally measure and observe the areas involved in producing the sensory mismatch. From there we synthesize very individualized treatment plans as we understand that not any two individuals are the same and thus no two people should receive the same treatment. Our treatments revolve around incorporating very specific brain based gaze stabilization exercises coupled to postural adaptation techniques to correct for the sensory mismatch. We measure changes on a daily basis and implement changes to treatment based on those findings. With our affiliation with the Carrick Institute and Dr. Carrick who has been pioneering treatment of dizziness and or vertigo for the past decade we offer our patients a very unique opportunity to find a solution to this very debilitating problem.