Learn about the causes and treatments of conditions that leave you feeling dizzy or unsteady.
Balance problems can make you feel dizzy, as if the room is spinning, unsteady, or lightheaded. You might feel as if the room is spinning or you're going to fall down. These feelings can happen whether you're lying down, sitting or standing.
Many body systems — including your muscles, bones, joints, eyes, the balance organ in the inner ear, nerves, heart and blood vessels — must work normally for you to have normal balance. When these systems aren't functioning well, you can experience balance problems.
Many medical conditions can cause balance problems. However, most balance problems result from issues in your balance organ in the inner ear (vestibular system).
Signs and symptoms of balance problems include:
Balance problems can be caused by several different conditions. The cause of balance problems is usually related to the specific sign or symptom.
Vertigo can be associated with many conditions, including:
Lightheadedness can be associated with:
Losing your balance while walking, or feeling imbalanced, can result from:
A sense of dizziness or lightheadedness can result from:
Your doctor will start by reviewing your medical history and conducting a physical and neurological examination.
To determine if your symptoms are caused by problems in the balance function in your inner ear, your doctor is likely to recommend tests. They might include:
The posturography test can be done with equipment that uses a virtual reality format to project a visual image that moves with you while you're tested.
Treatment depends on the cause of your balance problems. Your treatment may include: