Many types of balance problems exist. Balance problems may be caused by several different conditions.
Some people experience a sense of motion or spinning (vertigo). Vertigo may be caused by many conditions, including:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV). BPPV is caused by particles that come loose from the area in which they are held and move into other parts of the inner balance organ and change the way those parts function.
- Meniere's disease. In Meniere's disease, sudden vertigo, fluctuating hearing loss, and buzzing, ringing or a feeling of fullness in your ear occurs, but the cause is unknown.
- Migrainous vertigo. A migraine headache may cause sensitivity to motion and dizziness.
- Acoustic neuroma. An acoustic neuroma is a noncancerous (benign) tumor that develops on a nerve that affects your hearing and balance. Symptoms may include dizziness, loss of balance, hearing loss and ringing in your ear.
- Motion sickness. You may experience dizziness while riding in boats, cars and airplanes, or on amusement park rides.
- Vestibular neuritis. A certain inflammatory disorder (vestibular neuritis) may cause damage to the balance portion of the inner ear and the nerve from that part of the inner ear, which may cause vertigo, nausea, imbalance and other symptoms.
- Herpes zoster oticus. People with an active herpes zoster infection that involves the ear may experience vertigo, ear pain and other symptoms.
- Injury. You may experience symptoms of vertigo due to a head injury, such as a mild traumatic brain injury (concussion).
Some people may feel faint (presyncope) but remain conscious. They also may experience lightheadedness, dizziness or other symptoms.
- Blood pressure drop (orthostatic hypotension). Some people may experience a significant drop in their blood pressure after standing or sitting up too quickly.
- Cardiovascular diseases. Some heart and blood vessel diseases may cause presyncope. Heart diseases, including abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias), narrowed or blocked blood vessels, a thickened heart muscle (hypertrophic cardiomyopathy), or a decrease in blood volume, may reduce blood flow and cause presyncope.
Some people may feel imbalanced (disequilibrium) or lose their balance easily when walking.
- Inner ear problems. Abnormalities in your inner ear (vestibular problems) can cause a sensation of a floating or heavy head, and unsteadiness in the dark.
- Peripheral neuropathy. Nerve damage in your legs (peripheral neuropathy) may cause balance problems.
- Joint, muscle or vision problems. Muscle weakness and unstable joints can contribute to your loss of balance. Vision difficulties also can lead to imbalance.
- Medications. Loss of balance may be a side effect from use of medications.
- Cervical spondylosis, Parkinson's disease and other conditions. Cervical spondylosis, Parkinson's disease and other conditions may cause imbalance.
Lightheadedness or dizziness may be due to many causes.
- Inner ear problems. Abnormalities of the inner ear (vestibular problems) can lead to a false sense of motion and a sensation of floating.
- Psychiatric disorders. People may experience dizziness or lightheadedness with depression, anxiety disorders or other psychiatric disorders.
- Hyperventilation. Abnormally rapid breathing (hyperventilation) often accompanies anxiety disorders and may cause lightheadedness.
- Medications. Lightheadedness or dizziness may be a side effect from medications.
Read more about dizziness, benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV), Meniere's disease, migraine, acoustic neuroma, orthostatic hypotension, heart arrhythmias, hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, peripheral neuropathy, cervical spondylosis, Parkinson's disease, depression and generalized anxiety disorder.