Why Am I Losing My Balance Lately?
--- Causes and Top 10 Natural
Remedies
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October 8, 2014, last updated October 9, 2015


By Louise Carr, Associate Editor and Featured Columnist





Have you ever felt the room spinning so much you lose your
balance? Or felt dizzy and lightheaded, ending up falling
over? Your balance is critical to your health and wellbeing.
Loss of balance can be distressing and dangerous.

Unfortunately, loss of balance is also common. And it gets
increasingly more common as you get older. Between 30%
and 50% of all people over 65 years old fall each year,
according to a landmark study in 2006 from the University of
Rotterdam in The Netherlands.  In the US, 14.8 percent of
Americans in 2008 had a balance problem, according to the
National Institutes of Health. And in Australia, a 2011 study
led by from the University of New South Wales estimated
that 25% of all people over the age of 65 experience falls
each year.

Most of us will suffer a balance problem in our lives.
According to the National Institute on Deafness and Other
Communication Disorders,  more than four in 10 Americans
will suffer a balance disorder at some point in their lives.

If you’re losing your balance more often lately, what is the
cause? What can you do to correct your poor balance?

Balance and Health

Having good balance is easy to take for granted. With good
balance you can maintain your position when you are still or
moving. You can control your movements and walk without
staggering, get up from a chair or bed without falling, bend
and exercise without tripping, and climb stairs safely. Good
balance allows you to get around safely and maintain
independence as you grow older.

What are the Symptoms of a Balance Disorder?

If you lose your balance you feel unsteady, dizzy, or like the
room is spinning or floating around you. If you lose your
balance when walking you feel like you are about to tip over
– you may even fall. An intense feeling of spinning is called
vertigo and can cause you to lose your balance. You may
also suffer from nausea, vomiting, change in blood pressure,
anxiety, and panic.

What Causes Loss of Balance?

The labyrinth in your inner ear is responsible for your
balance. The labyrinth works alongside the eyes, joints, and
bones to keep you in the correct position. Disturbances of
the inner ear are therefore a primary cause of loss of balance.

Anything that affects the brain can also cause balance
problems, as can conditions affecting the vision and the
skeletal system.

Some of the most common disorders of balance include:

  • Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) or
    positional vertigo – intense vertigo and loss of balance
    caused when you change the position of your head.

  • Meniere's disease – disorder of the inner ear causing
    vertigo, hearing loss, and tinnitus. According to the
    National Institute of Deafness and Other
    Communication Disorders around 615,000 Americans
    have Meniere's disease.

  • Labyrinthitis – inflammation or infection of the inner ear.

  • Perilymph fistula – a leak of fluid from the inner ear to
    the middle ear causing dizziness, unsteadiness, and
    nausea.

  • Vestibular neuronitis – inflammation of the vestibular
    nerve.

  • Dynapenia – age-related loss of muscle strength that
    causes functional impairment, and loss of balance. In
    fact, dynapenia is much more common than you think.
    Dynapenia causes the loss of muscle mass in your legs,
    especially your thighs, which are needed to stabilize
    your balance to prevent falls. (Read more about
    dynapenia and its role in causing weight gain after age
    60.)

  • Ankle stiffness - stiff ankles contribute to falls because
    you need your ankles to help maintain your balance as
    you stand. If you are thrown a bit off your balance and
    your ankles cannot respond with adequate flexibilty,
    you will fall.




Treatment for loss of balance depends on the cause of the
balance disorder. Here we look at the recent scientific
reports to find out how natural remedies are used as a
treatment when you fall over or lose your balance on a
regular basis.

Natural Remedies to Improve Your Balance
































1. Homeopathy for Balance Disorders

A homeopathic remedy made up of Petroleum, Ambra grisea,
Conium, and Cocculus was just as effective as a medical
treatment for vertigo and loss of balance, according to a
1998 study from Biologische Heilmittel Heel GmbH, Baden-
Baden, Germany. The researchers looked at 105 patients
that suffered from acute or chronic vertigo and loss of
balance caused by Meniere’s disease and positional vertigo,
among others.

2.
Using Exercise to Treat Loss of Balance

Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo – a prime cause of loss
of balance – may be treated by carrying out a series of
exercises that help to alleviate the symptoms of the condition.

A 1987 study from University Hospitals, University of Leuven,
Belgium showed improvements in balance symptoms when
patients experienced the exercise regime, as did a 1986
study by authors ME Norre and A Beckers.

3.
Gingko is a Treatment for Vertigo and Loss of Balance

Researchers tested 160 mg of gingko on 67 people who
were suffering from vertigo and balance problems.

Gingko significantly reduced balance problems and other
symptoms of vertigo compared to a placebo.

At the end of the trial, French authors JP Haguenauer, F
Cantenot, H Koskas et al reported that 47 percent of the
people in the gingko group had completely recovered,
compared to 18 percent in the placebo group.

4.
Does Hypnosis Work as a Balance Treatment?

The study may date from the 1970's, but apparently
hypnosis can help to reduce loss of balance and vertigo
associated with head trauma.

Researchers C. Cedercreutz, R Lahteenmaki, and J Tulikoura
reported their success in using hypnosis to treat balance
problems in the International Journal of Clinical and
Experimental Hypnosis in 1976.

5.
Use Acupuncture to Treat Vertigo and Balance Problems

Scientists A Steinberger and M Pansini in a 1983 study
demonstrated that acupuncture can treat Meniere’s disease
and the associated loss of balance.

Thirty-four patients suffering from the condition were
treated using acupuncture and their condition significantly
improved following treatment and vertigo was eliminated.

6.
Eat Less Salt and Change Your Diet to Improve Your
Balance

Dietary changes can help reduce fluid retention in people
suffering from
Meniere’s disease, which subsequently
reduces the severity of symptoms including loss of balance.

Try eating smaller meals on a regular basis throughout the
day, eating less salt, and avoiding MSG (monosodium
glutamate).

A 2013 study from VA Medical Center, Los Angeles and
House Research Institute, Marina del Rey demonstrated that
nutrition education by referral to a registered dietitian
helped improve outcomes in the treatment of Meniere's
disease. Among the findings, 77.8 percent and 84.7 percent
classed a low sodium and a caffeine-free diet, respectively,
as “manageable or easy to follow”.

7.
Oxygen Therapy as a Balance Solution

According to a 2001 study by the University of Pisa, Italy,
treatment in an oxygen pressure chamber helps to reduce
the symptoms of
Meniere’s disease, including vertigo. In
particular, the amount of oxygen in the labyrinthine fluids
increases and this is believed to improve balance and reduce
vertigo. Patients in the study underwent daily oxygen
chamber sessions for 15 days.

Bonus:

8.
Tai Chi Is a Natural Remedy to Improve Balance

Tai Chi is the most studied natural remedy for balance
problems.  Many studies have concluded that Tai Chai,
practiced regularly, can improve your balance and reduce the
risk of falls for those over age 65.

The type of Tai Chi used in those studies which found that it
improves balance is a modified Yang style of Tai Chi, raging
from 10 to 24 forms.

For example, a 2011 study from The Hong Kong Polytechnic
University, Hunghom looked at 13 randomized controlled
trials on Tai Chi's effectiveness before reaching a conclusion
that Tai Chi does in fact improve balance and decrease falls
in non-frail elderly.

9.
Improve Ankle Flexibility with These Yoga Moves.  AS we
mentioned, having stiff ankles makes you more susceptible
to falls. Ankle stability and flexibility are both needed to keep
you upright if you are thrown even a little off your balance.

One of the best ways to increase ankle flexibility is to kneel
down on both knees, then gently try to sit back on your
ankles, until your backside touches your ankles. Most of us
cannot do it because we lack the needed flexibility in our
ankles. Don't force anything. But over time, gradually, little
by little you will find that you are able to sit back farther.

































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