Balance is vital to normal every day life activities such as getting out of a chair, walking, bending over to put on your shoes, washing your hair, driving a car, or going grocery shopping. However, when balance problems develop, they can cause profound disruptions in your daily life.
The ability to maintain balance is a complex process. It depends on three major components: 1) your sensory systems for accurate information about your body’s position 2) your brain’s ability to process this information and 3) your muscles and joints for coordinating the movements required to maintain balance.
The sensory systems include your sense of touch (feet, ankles, and joints), your inner ear, and your vision. For example, we rely on our feet and joints to tell us if the surface we are standing on is uneven or moving. We rely on our inner ear to tell us if we are upright or leaning, standing still or moving. We rely on our eyes to tell us if the environment around us is moving.