Dizziness, Balance, & Vertigo Treatment in Poway, San Diego
Perhaps few things are more acutely debilitating than the symptom of vertigo. Vertigo, the illusion of movement when you are not moving, completely commands the entire attention of the body just to stay upright until the episode passes. Failure of the system of balance surely would have made you food in the jungle, so the body has significant resources dedicated to making balance highly automatic and accurate.
It takes a complex integration of many body systems to maintain our balance. Failure of any one of those systems could be likened to a bad instrument player in the orchestra messing up the entire song. Diagnosing and managing symptoms of imbalance and vertigo is a challenging process for all physicians and patients alike, and many times requires the assistance of specialist physicians in all but the most straightforward cases.
Understanding balance problems requires a comprehensive understanding of the functions of the ear, the brain, the sensory pathways of peripheral nerves from legs and feet, basic understanding of cardiovascular physiology to maintain adequate blood flow the ears and brain, and understanding that the blood carries adequate sugar and oxygen to maintain the brain and nerve functions.
Injuries to the balance system are frequently primarily at the level of the ear putting ear nose and throat doctors (Otolaryngologists) in the forefront of many dizziness evaluations. In addition, primary physicians, cardiologists, neurologists, audiologist, and physical therapists often part of the balance evaluation and treatment team. In addition to the hearing organs, the ear houses the balance apparati which tell us where we are with respect to gravity, as well as tell us whether we are moving, turning or staying still.
Common processes impairing balance and contributing to vertigo include benign paroxysmal positional vertigo, viral labyrinthitis, Meniere’s disease and migraines. More serious causes can include stroke, heart arrhythmias, brain tumors, and other neurologic diseases. Of course, systemic problems such as diabetes, heart and vascular disease, low blood pressure, and anemia, amongst others, all may be contributory. Differentiating the cause generally takes a systematic approach that starts with a thorough history and physical. Though additional lab testing and scans and may be appropriate, effective use of testing and limiting the amount of needed testing can be achieved by being evaluated by a physician well verse in the management of balance and vertigo problems.