The vestibular system controls balance and alignment, and plays a crucial role in a child’s development. Disease or trauma can affect the development of normal movement and motor control. If your child is experiencing symptoms of dizziness or vertigo, then the signals the brain is receiving from the vestibular system have been disrupted. An evaluation by a doctor or ENT specialist is necessary to ensure the condition isn’t serious and won’t interfere with growth and development.
What Causes Dizziness?
Semicircular canals in the inner ear detect movement and send that information to the brain, enabling spatial orientation and allowing us to walk, run, and move normally. A disruption in these signals can leave us feeling dizzy or lightheaded.
What Are the Symptoms of a Balance Disorder?
People who experience lightheadedness feel as if they are going to faint. This may be accompanied by nausea or vomiting. The feeling often dissipates when you lie down. Occasional episodes of lightheadedness are common, and are rarely indicative of a serious problem. They happen when a sudden drop in blood pressure and blood flow to the head occurs, as when you get up too quickly from sitting or lying down.
Vertigo is another form of dizziness characterized by the sensation that your surroundings are moving, despite the lack of any actual movement. You feel unsteady, as though your body is spinning or tilting, which makes standing or walking difficult. You may experience nausea and vomiting.
How Are Balance Disorders Treated in Children?
Your child’s doctor will first determine whether he or she is suffering from lightheadedness or vertigo, and then figure which underlying condition is causing these episodes. There are many possible factors, ranging from colds and allergies to anxiety, medications, inner ear disorders and migraine headaches.
Treatment varies depending on the condition responsible. Often a cold or flu will run its course and symptoms will dissipate after a few days. A change in medication can reduce or eliminate side effects. Other treatment options include physical and occupational therapy, vestibular rehabilitation, lifestyle changes, medications and surgery.