Every year, 30% of the population over the age of 65 will have at least one fall. Falls are the leading cause of injury in older adults, and lead to over 200,000 hip fractures per year. Dizziness and other forms of impaired balance are among the most frequent reasons patients visit their doctor, especially individuals over the age of 75.
Balance impairment increases a person's risk for falls, particularly in the elderly. Fear of falling leads to further restriction of lifestyle, which creates deconditioning and loss of independence. The most common causes for balance problems include age related changes, inner ear disorders, stroke, head injury, infections, diabetes, reaction to medications, and central nervous system disorders such as MS or Parkinson's.
The Balance and Dizziness Center at St. Alexius is a physical therapy based clinic that offers specific evaluation and treatment for individuals with symptoms of dizziness or imbalance. We are the first clinic in North Dakota to offer Computerized Dynamic Posturography, a computerized force plate that measures body sway and stability under various conditions. The test also includes a measurement of reaction time and ability to respond to surface changes.
Physical therapy assessment includes various measures of balance, strength, and gait ability. Patients with dizziness or vertigo will also undergo certain vestibular tests. A customized program is then designed to improve balance and steadiness, increase strength and flexibility, and increase safety with gait. Patients with dizziness may also participate in vestibular rehabilitation therapy , as well as specific balance training, with a goal of reducing or possibly eliminating dizziness. A cornerstone of treatment is regular completion of a home exercise program.
Types of patients who may benefit from this program include individuals with the following diagnoses:
- General gait and balance disorders
- Patients who have history of falls or fear of falling
- Adult neurological impairments including stroke, head injury, MS, Parkinson's
- Orthopedic injuries with resulting balance disorders
- Inner ear disorders, including Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (LINK TO BPPV), and inner ear infection.
The Balance and Dizziness Center is located within the St. Alexius Human Performance Center. Services are covered by insurance, including Blue Cross Blue Shield, Medicare, Medicaid, Auto, ND workforce Safety and Insurance, and many other commercial insurance providers.
For more information, please contact the St. Alexius Human Performance Center at 701-530-8100 or 1-800-222-7858.
Use Ask St. Alexius  if you have a specific question concerning balance an dizziness. Your answer will come in the form of an email.