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Balance and Dizziness

There are 3 mechanisms through which our bodies work in harmony to maintain our balance: 

  • Ears: Within our ears are 3 semi-circular canals that detect shifts within our bodies in response to gravity and the 3-planes of motion.

  • Eyes: Our eyes help to maintain a level horizon. It becomes a lot more difficult to stand on one foot and maintain our balance with our eyes closed. 

  • Myofascial System: Within the myofascial system are a tremendous amount of nerves that detect varying amounts of tension and muscle activity and length that work in concert to tell us where our body is within space. This is called our proprioceptive system.

At the Danto Osteopathic Clinic we use OMT (Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment) to optimize all three of these systems to function at their best. The result is that people's balance often improves and dizziness may be reduced or eliminated. Some of the research that has been published on this topic is described below with links to the published articles. 

Balance Beam

Impact of osteopathic manipulative techniques on the management of dizziness caused by neuro-otologic disorders: systematic review and meta-analysis

by Yasir Rehman, Jonathon Kirsch, Mary Ying-Fang Wang, Hannah Ferguson, Jonathan Bingham, Barbara Senger, Susan E. Swogger, Robert Johnston and Karen T. Snider

A meta-analysis published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine on October 12, 2022 found moderate-quality evidence that treatment with articular OMT techniques was significantly associated with decreased disability associated with dizziness, dizziness severity, and dizziness frequency. 

The study reviewed 3,375 studies and found 12 studies that met the inclusion criteria. They found moderate-quality evidence that showed articular OMT techniques to be associated with decreases (all p<0.01) in disability associated with dizziness, dizziness severity, and dizziness frequency.

Use of the SMART Balance Master to Quantify the Effects of Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment in Patients With Dizziness

by Marcel Fraix, Ashlynn Gordon, Victoria Graham, Eric Hurwitz and Michael A. Seffinger

This prospective study published in the Journal of Osteopathic Medicine May 1, 2013 examined sixteen participants with dizziness for over 3 months (mean duration of symptoms was 84 months) and spinal somatic dysfunction, but no history of known stroke or brain disease, were recruited from the local community and evaluated for postural balance control before, immediately after, and 1-week after OMT. Four osteopathic physicians board certified in neuromusculoskeletal medicine/osteopathic manipulative medicine provided OMT, which included a variety of techniques. 

Outcomes were evaluated with the SMART Balance Master (a validated machine that assesses various objective factors indicative of dizziness) and the Dizziness Handicap Inventory (a self-assessment test designed to score and allow self-assessment of dizziness). 

The study concluded that OMT significantly improved both measures of dizziness immediately and 1 week after OMT (both P<.001).

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