Balance is one of the most significant indicators of overall brain health. There are areas in nearly every part of the brain that help us maintain balance and interact with our environment.

Balance occurs when our spine, surrounding muscles and brain are effectively signaling back and forth. If this doesn’t occur due to some error in these systems, then balance and equilibrium will be affected, causing balance disorders. When we sway to one side, we stretch, or trigger sensitive spinal stabilizing muscles on the opposing side. If these do not stabilize, is causing balance issues and gait disturbances.

About This Condition

Description of Causes

When we sway to one side, we stretch, or trigger sensitive spinal stabilizing muscles on the opposing side. Consider a sway to the left, this causes a signal to be sent to the cerebellum on the right side as the muscles of that side are stretched, which then sends a signal to the left cortex, interpreting the information. The left cortex, utilizing the corticospinal pathway, signals back down to the right side that has been stretched and contracts the larger spinal and pelvic muscles to contract in a coordinated fashion-pulling us back to center-this is known as balance.

Strategies for Help

Balance disorders come in many different varieties. The obvious symptoms include a losing your sense of balance and feelings of dizziness and light headedness. This can lead to vertigo and spatial awareness issues, causing a disconnected feeling. Balance disorders can also cause blurred vision and gait disturbances, walking abnormalities and a feeling of swaying or bumping in to walls or objects, chronic neck or back pain and even early degeneration of joints in the spine and legs.

How We Can Help

By locating where the signaling errors are occurring, we can then devise a care plan to restore normal communicating patterns. This may be at the spinal levels that aren’t being stretched appropriately, or it could be that the vestibular and cerebellum that control balance and coordination are not processing information accurately, or it could be that the spatial mapping in our parietal lobe is not able to interpret the feedback. The point is, there are many different areas that may be at fault, but through careful, thorough evaluation we can diagnose this appropriately and correct these functional errors.

About Us

The team of Functional Neurologists at Integrated Brain Centers are experts in helping patients of all ages suffering from concussion and brain injuries.