People who have balance problems use many different terms to describe what they feel: dizziness, vertigo, spinning, a sense of floating, or a feeling of unsteadiness while standing or walking.
If you have sensations like these that are frequent, severe, or don’t go away, you could have a balance disorder.
Balance disorders could be caused by problems related to different parts of your body such as your ears or nerves. University of Iowa Health Care’s experienced neurotologists and neurologists work together to diagnose and treat them.
We know how disruptive a balance disorder can be to your daily life, so we work together to help you.
If you’re having a new balance problem that starts one day (such as new dizziness or a new walking problem), a new vision loss or diplopia, a new face drop, a new arm weakness, or trouble speaking, you could be having a stroke.
The expertise you need
Because balance disorders can have many causes, and they can be complex and hard to diagnose. Your providers’ experience is the most important factor when you’re choosing where to get care.
UI Health Care’s expert physicians have been successfully diagnosing and treating balance disorders for more than 20 years. Our physical therapists are equally experienced.
And while most balance disorders can be treated medically, if you need surgery, there’s no team in the state more experienced than our neurotologists.
A collaborative team, focused on you
UI Health Care experts take a true multidisciplinary approach to diagnosing and treating balance disorders.
Besides specialists in neurology and neurotology, our team includes experts in audiology and physical therapy. They work together to make sure that you get the right tests and a correct diagnosis. Then, they’ll collaborate with you to create your customized treatment plan.
Prepare for your visit
Our balance disorder specialists recommend that you do the following so you can get the most out of your first visit:
- Write down a list of your questions and concerns so you remember everything you want to talk about.
- Arrive at least 20 minutes early for your appointment to check in. Our staff will have questions for you and also take your blood pressure and other vitals.
- If you saw your primary care physician or another provider for your balance problems, bring copies of your records and any images that were taken. If you have a brain MRI scan, please bring a copy of the report and a CD of the picture.
- To help your doctor understand what you've been through so far, be ready to tell the story of your balance problem in the order of how it happened: what happened first and when it started, what happened next, and how you felt at each step.
- If you got a diagnosis somewhere else, tell us what that provider told you.
- Bring a list of all the medications you take, including prescriptions, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements.
- Bring a list of all medications that you have already tried, if any.
- Bring a list of your other medical diagnoses and surgeries you have had.
- Sign up for MyChart, an online tool that enables you to communicate with your providers and see some of your medical records.
Balance disorders tests and treatments
- Audiogram (hearing test)
- Brain MRI
- Lifestyle changes (NESS: nutrition, exercise, sleep, and stress management)
- Medications (adding new medications or removing unneeded ones)
- Particle repositioning maneuvers
- Surgery, including deep brain stimulation (DBS)
- Videonystagmography (VNG) (also called electronystagmography, or ENG)
- Vestibular rehabilitation (balance physical therapy)