All throughout human history, mankind has speculated about the existence of a supposed sixth sense. Some have suggested that this sixth sense might be a sort of precognition. Others thought it might be something like being able to perceive the thoughts of others. In the film, The Sixth Sense, the sense in question was the ability to see dead people.
While science has no evidence as to the existence of any of the above abilities, there exists one human ability that could easily be classified as our sixth sense. What is this amazing ability, you ask? It is our innate sense of balance.
A Gift Taken for Granted
Hearing that the human race’s ability to walk down the street without falling down is our sixth sense might come as a disappointment to some people. After all, it certainly isn’t X-ray vision or the power of flight. But imagine trying to get through your day without being able to walk in a straight line. You can easily get by without flying through the clouds or seeing through walls. But you could barely get to the supermarket if you can’t balance.
Like many things, being able to balance properly is a gift that we all take for granted until it is gone. Vestibular disorder is a common ailment, but one that can be treated through vestibular rehabilitation.
The Causes of Vestibular Disorder
When you damage the inner parts of your ear, you run the risk of upsetting your sense of balance. There are all sorts of ailments that can cause vestibular disorder, also known as vertigo.
Trauma to the inner ear is one of the most common causes of vestibular disorder, and it can happen in a variety of ways. One is hitting your head. If you fracture the wrong part of your skull you can damage the labyrinth system. A bad concussion can also possibly dislodge crystals in your inner ear, leading to vertigo.
Meniere’s disease can also lead to vestibular issues. You might see signs of it based on ringing in your ears or hearing loss. A viral infection known as labyrinthitis can also inflame the middle ear and lead to a loss of balance.
Outside causes in other parts of the brain can also cause vertigo. Tumors, strokes, multiple sclerosis, and seizures can bring along disturbances in balance. However, these instances are far less common than trauma, diseases, or recurring conditions that directly affect the inner ear.
Treating Vertigo, Balance Issues, and Vestibular Disorder with Vestibular Rehabilitation
If you suffer from vestibular disorder, you are well aware that the cause of your problem is no longer the issue. All you want to do now is try your hardest to make it better.
Just like there are physical therapies from recovering from an injury, or psychiatric therapy to help people deal with mental illness, there is also vestibular therapy to help patients regain their sense of balance.
The goal of vestibular therapy isn’t necessarily to completely obliterate vestibular disorders. In some severe cases it just isn’t possible to completely recover from a serious injury. If you suffer from a disorder that severe, however, you can still greatly benefit from vestibular rehabilitation. The goal isn’t always to completely eradicate the problem (though that would certainly be nice). In many cases therapists will work with patients on how to best manage their dizziness, and to get on with their normal lives.
While this may not seem like much to some people, it means the world to those suffering from chronic dizziness. Imagine if you couldn’t even walk across the room to get to the bathroom. After suffering with that for weeks, months, and years, can you imagine the feeling of empowerment if you could walk out to get the mail? Imagine walking to the grocery store after barely being able to get to the kitchen! It is accomplishments like these that vestibular therapists seek to achieve through rehabilitation.
Treatment for vertigo issues involves a wide range of different techniques. These include things like visual exercises, sensorimotor retraining, exercises you can do at home, and education for your family members.
Educating members of your family on your vestibular issues is key to recover. One of the most important things a patient can have is a supportive social network. Patients are much more likely to recover properly when they have the support and assistance of friends and family.
The main goal of treatment is to get patients back to not only a functional lifestyle, but also back to working to their fullest potentials. No one wants to deal with health issues in their lives, but for most of us it is inevitable. The important thing to remember if you suffer from vestibular issues is that there is treatment out there. Stop dealing with vertigo in your daily life. Get the assistance you need with vestibular rehabilitation.
The information provided in this article is for informational purposes only. It is not a substitute for medical advice. All medical information presented should be discussed with your healthcare professional. Remember, the failure to seek timely medical advice can have serious ramifications. We urge you to discuss any current health related problems you are experiencing with a healthcare professional immediately.
Erin Harding is a freelance writer who writes on a variety of health topics including vestibular rehabilitation