Good balance depends on 3 things.  These are your vision, vestibular system, and proprioception.  I described proprioception in an earlier blog post.  The vestibular system is in the inner ear and controls equilibrium.  In school, one way we tested our balance was by doing the Foam and Dome Test.  The first thing we would do is time how long we could just stand there without shoes.  Next, a dome was put on our heads, this took away our vision so we were only relying on our vestibular system and our proprioceptors.  Next, with the dome still on our head, we had to stand on a piece of foam and this took away our proprioceptors so by the end of the test we were relying solely on our vestibular system.  You can’t really do anything to mess up the vestibular system.  It’s a test for balance and it tells what needs to be worked on.  There are different variations of this test.  After my stroke, I had terrible balance.  The vestibular system goes to a lot of areas in the brain but some of it is controlled by the cerebellum.  Proprioception –  controlled mostly by the cerebellum.  My vision was OK after a month.  So I had 2 strikes against me.  My cerebellum was damaged and therefore both my vestibular system was messed up as well as my sense of proprioception.  Now, my balance is far from normal but sooooo much better.  I can now balance on my right leg for 20 seconds.  If you want to learn more than you ever wanted to about balance, go here.  (This link downloads a powerpoint presentation)

Categories: Brain stuff, Health, Recovery, Rehab, Stroke stuff

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1 reply

  1. So, if I had gotten my eyesight back maybe I could have ended up with better balance? That is an interesting -and slightly sad- thought. It make sense though. When I can only see 50% of the world and the rest is left black it does make sense when I really think about it.

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