Gait and Balance Problems: Causes and Treatment

Gait and balance problems usually occur due to malfunctioning of certain organs or systems of the body. These could include, balance organs of your inner ear, eyes, nerves, blood vessels, heart, muscles, bones, and joints. When afflicted with this problem you may feel like falling down even when you are sitting or lying on a bed.

Symptoms of gait and balance problems usually depend on the underlying causes. However,

the commonly known symptoms of gait and balance problems are –

·         Spinning  or vertigo

·         Light-headedness

·         Dizziness

·         Unsteadiness

·         Feeling like you are going to fall

·         Blurry vision

·         Confusion

·         Difficulty in walking

·         Motion sickness

In the case of an older adult, the problem with gait and balance may lead to a fall causing serious injury. This in turn may cause loss of independence in movement. Some of the falls could also a brain bleed and may need hospitalization

Causes of Gait and balance problem

Some of the commonly known medical conditions that may lead to this problem are –

·         Stroke

·         Head injury

·         severe arthritis·       

. Acoustic neuroma, a benign tumor on a nerve affecting hearing and balance

·         Cerebral palsy (CP)

·         Multiple sclerosis (MS)

·         Migraine which may lead to dizziness and sensitivity to motion

·         Brain hemorrhage or brain tumor

·         Muscle weakness and unstable joints

·         Problems with eyesight

·         Neurological conditions like cervical spondylosis and Parkinson’s disease.

·         Meniere’s disease

·         Spinal cord compression or infarction

·         Guillain-Barré syndrome

·         Peripheral neuropathy

·         Hemodynamic orthostatic hypotension

·         Vestibular neuritis, inflammatory disorder caused by a virus

·         Myopathy

·         Vitamin B-12 deficiency

·         Muscular dystrophy 

·          Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)

·         Use of antihypertensive drugs

·         Psychiatric disorders like depression

·         Chronic alcoholism

Treatment of Gait and Balance Problems

Treatment for gait and balance issues usually depends on the underlying cause and is done through medications and physiotherapy.

Some of the treatment courses recommended by doctors may include balance retraining exercise, positioning procedures for those having BPPV, diet and lifestyle changes including lowering salt intake and avoiding caffeine, and alcohol, medicines for dizziness and vomiting in case of severe vertigo, and surgery for those with acoustic neuroma. Moreover, your physician may also prescribe balance aids like a cane to reduce the risk of falling down.

If you notice any of the above mentioned signs and symptoms, you may consult a highly experienced GP or ENT or Neurologist doctor on DocGenie for a thorough examination to identify the causes. Our doctors can help you with any gait and balance related problems.