What is your balance system, how does it work, and what are common problems?

Your balance system
Located directly next to your cochlear (or hearing organ), is your balance organ. Know as your vestibular system, this area is responsible for telling your brain your moving, or not moving. Pictured below, the three loops are called the semi-circular canals, which was each responsible for every angle we can move out head in. The large, bulbous area next to the canals is the vestibule, (utricle and saccule), which is responsible for forward/backward movement as well as up/down movement.

How your balance system works
Located in each of the different areas, including in each of the canals, are small areas with nerve endings. Each of the areas are filled with fluid and when we move, the fluid moves across and stimulates the nerve endings, telling our brain that we are moving. Located in the utricle and saccule, are small calcium deposits known as otoliths. These otoliths sit on a bed of nerve endings and use gravity and G-forces to put pressure on the nerve endings, again, telling our brina that we are moving.

Balance system disorders
If you are feeling dizzy, have vertigo, or imbalanced, then one or more of the areas of your balance system may be effected. The most common cause of having a balance issue is when one of those small crystals escapes the vestibule and ends up in the horitzontal canal. The crystals then bounce around and stimulate the nerve endings in the canal, especially when you move your hear a certain way. Other common causes of balance disorders are associated with blood sugar, blood pressure, migraines, changes in pressure in the head and the effects of certain medications. Much more rare causes of being off balance include tumors, and certain certain diseases.

If you or anyone you know has an issue with imbalance, please contact our office today.