Provided by Covenant Health System
Bill Threadgill has provided a test you can take to see if you need to see your doctor about balance issues. Just [click here for the PDF]. Bill is a Physical Therapist at Covenant Southwest Medical Park at 98th & Slide.
Do you have problems with balance or falls? Each year more than two million people visit their doctor for balance disorders and falls. Balance disorders occur when the body is not functioning properly. More specifically, when the vestibular organs of the inner ear do not provide the correct information about head movement, the result is problems with balance.
Covenant Southwest Medical Park recently added Bill Threadgill, a physical therapist that specializes in vestibular issues and balance disorders, to the team. He provides more information about vestibular and balance disorders below:
• Our orientation in space and balance is primarily measured by three sensory systems. When all systems and the brain are properly functioning, the final result is a healthy balance system.
- The eye (visual) system
- The balance (vestibular) system of the inner ear
- The general sensory system including motion, pressure and position
sensors in joints, muscles and skin
• When the balance system breaks down, people may experience symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, lightheadedness, motion sickness and general imbalance. It is important to make an appointment with your physician if you are experiencing the above symptoms.
• During a typical evaluation, the patient's strength, range in motion, visual coordination and inner ear functions are measured. Therapists also evaluate how the patient walks, how steady they are on their feet and what strategies they use to balance. In order to properly treat the disorder, it is crucial to determine the symptoms and what provokes them.
• Patients with balance disorders spend different amounts of time in physical therapy depending on the nature of their condition. Some disorders can be treated in as little as one to three visits. Patients with more complex issues, however, may spend one to three months in physical therapy.
• During physical therapy, the patient receives individualized care and education on what the problem is, what the symptoms are and how to best adapt to the rehab.
• Proven equipment is utilized to aid in the assessment and treatment of each patient's condition. One piece of equipment used at Southwest Medical Park is the Posturography machine, which allows experts to more efficiently identify and treat balance issues that cause falls. The machine features a special apparatus with a movable horizontal platform. The posturography test protocols generate a sequence of standardized motions in the support platform in order to see how well a patient stays up against gravity on their feet.
• Throughout the physical therapy process, extreme importance is placed on patient safety and the awareness of challenges and potential dangers the patient might face in day-to-day activities. The activities performed in physical therapy may at first seem quite challenging, but will prove essential in order to regain the function vestibular balance disorder patients once enjoyed.
Typically, the patient will be discharged with a plan for continued success usually in the form of a home exercise program and/or a membership in a wellness or exercise facility.
The most important thing is that balance disorder patients receive an accurate diagnosis of their condition.