Whether you are lying down, sitting or standing, balance problems can make you feel dizzy, as if the room is spinning. You may also feel unsteady, or lightheaded. You could experience feelings that you are going to fall down. There are many medical conditions that can cause balance problems. Most balance problems, however, result from issues in your balance end-organ in the inner ear (vestibular system).
Your body systems must work normally for you to have normal balance. These systems include the muscles, bones, joints, vision, and the balance organ in the inner ear, as well as the nerves, heart and blood vessels. You can experience balance problems when these systems are not functioning well.
The vestibular system works with other sensorimotor systems in the body, such as our visual system (the eyes) and skeletal system (our bones and joints). To check and maintain the position of our body at rest or in motion is the function of these systems. They also helps us maintain a steady focus on objects even though the position of our body changes. Our vestibular system does this by detecting mechanical forces, which includes gravity, that act upon our vestibular organs when our bodies are in motion.
Our semicircular canals are three fluid-filled loops arranged roughly at right angles to each other. They tell the brain when our head moves in a rotating or circular way, such as when we nod our head up and down or look from right to left. The two sections of the labyrinth that help us accomplish these tasks are the semicircular canals and the otolithic organs.
Around 20% of all dizziness is due to benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV).Within the inner ear small crystals can break loose from their correct position in the balance organ and collect as debris within another part. When the head is moved these crystals also move, and this sends false signals to the brain about how you are moving. It is possible that some people can feel dizzy and unsteady when they tip their heads back to look up, although these symptoms can vary or come and go.
Neuronitis is also known as vestibular neuritisis and is an infection of the vestibular nerve in the inner ear. This affliction causes the vestibular nerve to become inflamed, disrupting your sense of balance. Although the balance symptoms may be similar, other infections of the inner ear are often caused by viruses and less commonly by bacterial infections. Such inner ear viral infection may be caused by a general viral illness or the infection may be just in the inner ear and usually only one ear is affected. The treatments for these conditions are very different, so correct diagnosis by a specialist is essential.