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#43 Improving Balance -

Some acoustic neuroma patients have serious balance issues pre-treatment and some have the balance issues post-treatment. For some, it’s both pre and post. The hearing or eighth cranial nerve has a balance branch and if this is where the tumor is located, balance issues result; in fact, this was my first symptom of an acoustic neuroma.

I had good hearing until six months post radiation.  Hearing loss is usually the first symptom of an acoustic neuroma. That ’s because the tumor is often located on the hearing branch of the nerve. It can be positioned in such a way that both balance and hearing feel the effects.

Improving Balance is one of the seven booklets put out by the Acoustic Neuroma Association. We have less chance of falling if we work on balance. That alone is reason enough to do balance exercises.

The booklets are:

  • A Glimpse of the Brain
  • Headache Associated with Acoustic Neuroma Treatment
  • Improving Balance Associated with Acoustic Neuroma
  • Acoustic Neuroma Basic Overview
  • Hearing Loss – Rehabilitation for Acoustic Neuroma Patients
  • Eye Care After AN Surgery
  • Diagnosis Acoustic Neuroma
  • Facial Nerve and ANA

If interested in one or more of these booklets, call 770-205-8211 or 877-200-8211. Here is the website www.ANAUSA.org

In my personal experience, I have recognized a direct correlation between the amount of walking and my balance. If I walk regularly, the balance is better. When the weather prevents me from regularly walking, the balance suffers. By the way, stormy weather can affect my balance. I have not read confirmed reports on this, but my head tells me when the barometer changes = my balance goes off. Exhaustion throws it off, too. So do loud noises. Watching lots of activity happening at the same time is a problem; for example, in an action movie, or in a gymnasium with lots of activity.

I had good results working with a vestibular rehabilitation therapist. When the therapist asked me when and where I had problems, the grocery store was at the top of my list. See the “x” on that piece of paper? When I use that paper regularly, my balance is good. The exercises are called gaze stabilization exercises.

Begin with a solid color in the background (no busy wallpaper or patterned curtains, or movement in the background.  Sit down when first starting the exercise. Hold the X still, keep your eyes focused on the x, and move the head from side to side for a minute or two. Do the same thing moving the head up and down.

The difficulty can gradually be increased by standing on a solid surface, then standing on an uneven surface.

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Readers, have you tried Tai Chi or Yoga for balance issues?  I have heard this helps. Please share with us on the contact page (link) what has helped you.

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Guiding Father,

You know my needs better than I do. Help me to walk in confidence, knowing you walk with me. Amen.

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I know the Lord is always with me. I will not be shaken, for he is right beside me. Psalm 16:8