Safety and Health Reporter
Brien Roche Law > Blog > Medical Malpractice > Maintaining Balance

Maintaining Balance

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Vertigo and Maintaining Balance.

Brien Roche

Maintaining Balance-Coordinating Information

Maintaining balance is in large measure controlled by your vestibular system. The vestibular system is that portion of the inner ear that coordinates information from various parts of the body. It then allows you to engage in what we simply know as maintaining balance. Lack of balance is sometimes called vertigo or dizziness.  There are related symptoms such as ringing in the ears and hearing your own eyes blink.

Maintaining balance is a function of coordinating information. That information is gathered from your vision, information from your body itself as a mechanical organ which moves through space and the movement and information from your inner ears.  All of this information gets put together in the brain. The brain then tells us where we are in space and where we are going.  Within the so-called “inner ear” there is literally a fluid collection. It has tiny little hairs in it. The movement of those hairs communicates information to the brain as to how the body is positioned and where the body is in relation to objects around it.

As part of the inner ear there are three semi-circular canals that are at right angles to each other which detect equilibrium.  One of those canals is horizontal, one is vertical and one travels from the front to the back of the body.  This provides the body with three different axes to detect motion in any direction.  These canals are filled with fluid and movement of this fluid stimulates the cilia or hairs in the canals which then produce nerve impulses that are sent to the brain telling the brain where the body is.

You may have experienced sea sickness.  Sea sickness is the body’s reaction to an inability to keep the horizon stable.  The brain wants the horizon to stay flat.  When the brain cannot keep the horizon flat it is because the eye and the brain are not able to adjust quickly enough to keep it in that condition.  The eyes in your head are able to rotate slightly to keep perception of the horizon flat.  That ability however sometimes is not sufficient to accomplish the objective.

Another condition that to some extent is associated with balance but it’s really a vision problem is what is known as nystagmus.  If you’ve ever sat on a train and passed a series of telephone poles, what the brain directs the eye to do to pick a fixed object and to stay with it until it passes out of view and then to move on to another fixed object.  Inability to do that may be indicative of either brain damage or other conditions.

If any of those functions mentioned above (vision, mechanical sensation or inner ear function) are interfered with then that results in a lack of information going to the brain as to your position in space. That results in the brain feeling like things are off balance.  Sometimes what is necessary is to retrain the brain in order to make up for the missing data.  If the loss of function is an inner ear problem then that is highly correctable.  Sometimes it can require physical therapy.

Maintaining Balance-The Right Diagnosis

Frequently the problem in regards to the inner ear issues is making sure that the right diagnosis is made.  Sometimes the cause of vertigo can be what is called Meniere’s disease. That is a buildup of fluid in the inner ear.  Sometimes the problem can be the result of a dislodging of calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear and they migrate into the canals of the inner ear.

As of the date of this article there is a new device that is being used at Johns Hopkins Hospital to gauge inner ear problems quickly at the bedside.  It’s kind of like an EKG of the eyes.  That type of information can be critical in terms of making the proper diagnosis and helping patients in maintaining balance in all respects.

Vertigo From Car Accidents-Maintaining Balance

Vertigo is a feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning.  Car accidents can be the cause.  Vertigo itself is simply a symptom, not a disease.

Your balance can be affected by any sort of injury to the head, either as a result of striking something or as a result of whiplash motion.  It’s important to make sure that a thorough eye exam, ear exam and overall neurological examination is done in order to come up with a proper diagnosis.  Balance problems may be indicative of vestibular issues or it could be indicative of brain damage.  Either way they are serious conditions that must be dealt with.

An injury to the head may cause increased pressure within the skull which can then influence the balance of fluids within the skull causing vertigo and/or dizziness.

Aside from trauma, there are several other potential causes of vertigo.

Most often vertigo is simply defined as an illusion of motion.  It is associated with a spinning sensation.  Dizziness is a somewhat looser term that can include vertigo.

For more information on maintaining balance and vertigo see the pages on Wikipedia.

Comments are closed.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Maintaining Balance

Fairfax Injury Lawyer Brien Roche Addresses Vertigo and Maintaining Balance.

Brien Roche

Maintaining Balance-Coordinating Information

Maintaining balance is in large measure controlled by your vestibular system. The vestibular system is that portion of the inner ear that coordinates information from various parts of the body. It then allows you to engage in what we simply know as maintaining balance. Lack of balance is sometimes called vertigo or dizziness.  There are related symptoms such as ringing in the ears and hearing your own eyes blink.

Maintaining balance is a function of coordinating information. That information is gathered from your vision, information from your body itself as a mechanical organ which moves through space and the movement and information from your inner ears.  All of this information gets put together in the brain. The brain then tells us where we are in space and where we are going.  Within the so-called “inner ear” there is literally a fluid collection. It has tiny little hairs in it. The movement of those hairs communicates information to the brain as to how the body is positioned and where the body is in relation to objects around it.

As part of the inner ear there are three semi-circular canals that are at right angles to each other which detect equilibrium.  One of those canals is horizontal, one is vertical and one travels from the front to the back of the body.  This provides the body with three different axes to detect motion in any direction.  These canals are filled with fluid and movement of this fluid stimulates the cilia or hairs in the canals which then produce nerve impulses that are sent to the brain telling the brain where the body is.

You may have experienced sea sickness.  Sea sickness is the body’s reaction to an inability to keep the horizon stable.  The brain wants the horizon to stay flat.  When the brain cannot keep the horizon flat it is because the eye and the brain are not able to adjust quickly enough to keep it in that condition.  The eyes in your head are able to rotate slightly to keep perception of the horizon flat.  That ability however sometimes is not sufficient to accomplish the objective.

Another condition that to some extent is associated with balance but it’s really a vision problem is what is known as nystagmus.  If you’ve ever sat on a train and passed a series of telephone poles, what the brain directs the eye to do to pick a fixed object and to stay with it until it passes out of view and then to move on to another fixed object.  Inability to do that may be indicative of either brain damage or other conditions.

If any of those functions mentioned above (vision, mechanical sensation or inner ear function) are interfered with then that results in a lack of information going to the brain as to your position in space. That results in the brain feeling like things are off balance.  Sometimes what is necessary is to retrain the brain in order to make up for the missing data.  If the loss of function is an inner ear problem then that is highly correctable.  Sometimes it can require physical therapy.

Maintaining Balance-The Right Diagnosis

Frequently the problem in regards to the inner ear issues is making sure that the right diagnosis is made.  Sometimes the cause of vertigo can be what is called Meniere’s disease. That is a buildup of fluid in the inner ear.  Sometimes the problem can be the result of a dislodging of calcium carbonate crystals in the inner ear and they migrate into the canals of the inner ear.

As of the date of this article there is a new device that is being used at Johns Hopkins Hospital to gauge inner ear problems quickly at the bedside.  It’s kind of like an EKG of the eyes.  That type of information can be critical in terms of making the proper diagnosis and helping patients in maintaining balance in all respects.

Vertigo From Car Accidents-Maintaining Balance

Vertigo is a feeling that you or your surroundings are spinning.  Car accidents can be the cause.  Vertigo itself is simply a symptom, not a disease.

Your balance can be affected by any sort of injury to the head, either as a result of striking something or as a result of whiplash motion.  It’s important to make sure that a thorough eye exam, ear exam and overall neurological examination is done in order to come up with a proper diagnosis.  Balance problems may be indicative of vestibular issues or it could be indicative of brain damage.  Either way they are serious conditions that must be dealt with.

An injury to the head may cause increased pressure within the skull which can then influence the balance of fluids within the skull causing vertigo and/or dizziness.

Aside from trauma, there are several other potential causes of vertigo.

Most often vertigo is simply defined as an illusion of motion.  It is associated with a spinning sensation.  Dizziness is a somewhat looser term that can include vertigo.

For more information on maintaining balance and vertigo see the pages on Wikipedia.

Contact Us For A Free Consultation

Contact Us For A Free Consultation