Some patients describe a balance problem, or disequilibrium, characterized by dizziness, light-headedness or a sense of being unsteady.
When a feeling of turning or spinning is associated with this condition, it is called vertigo.
Patients who have these symptoms may have to undergo a series of examinations to determine the cause.
Balance is maintained by a complex interaction of the following parts of the nervous system:
- Inner ears
- Skin pressure receptors
- Muscle and joint sensory receptors
- Central nervous system (brain and spinal cord)
which process all the bits of information from the four other systems.
Once we have checked for injury or infection, our neurologists sometimes have to investigate further for diseases of the nerves that affect balance: multiple sclerosis, tumors, etc. The physician will examine the patient's ear, nose and throat and then perform tests of nerve and balance function. The Neurologist might order skull x-rays, a CT or MRI scan of the head. Recommended treatment will be based on the diagnosis.