balance sunset photo
Contact Us: 

G-4466 W. Bristol Rd
Flint, MI  48507
Phone: (810) 342-5350

McLaren’s Balance Rehabilitation Services are offered in state of the art facilities and provided by Certified Vestibular Therapists and a team of licensed physical therapists with advanced training in Vestibular and Balance Rehabilitation. McLaren’s physical therapy specialists can teach you how to prevent falls and manage and/or eliminate balance problems in many cases without long term use of prescription medications and exposure to these side effects.

Balance is defined as the ability to maintain an upright posture and is a key component of leading a healthy lifestyle.  Normal balance requires coordination of three systems:  visual (perception of your body at rest and in motion); vestibular (a system of canals located deep in both ears, about the size of your thumbnail, with fluid and special hair cells that detect movement of your head in space); and proprioception (sensations from the skin, muscles and joints).  When two or more of these systems are not in harmony, individuals can experience difficulties in activities such as walking, bending over, reaching up, reading, and rolling over in bed or even falling.  Other impairments such as a decrease in strength and coordination, debility due to a recent hospitalization or illness, and slowed reaction times can also contribute to a balance problem and put you at risk for a fall.

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  • History of previous falls within the last year
  • Changes in strength and coordination
  • Changes in vision and hearing
  • Dizziness/vertigo and other disorders of the vestibular system
  • Slowed reaction time
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Multiple medications (four or more)
  • Decreased sensation in the feet (neuropathy)
  • Recent hospitalization or illness
  • Low blood pressure
  • Environmental hazards
  • Uncontrolled irregular heartbeat
  • Stopped daily activities or avoided exercise because of fear of falling
  • Incontinence







Do you experience any of these problems?  If so, discuss your concerns with your healthcare provider.  You could benefit from a McLaren Physical Therapy Evaluation to see if you are at risk for falls.  A physician’s referral for balance assessment and treatment is required.  For more information or to schedule an appointment call (810) 342-5350.

The good news is that dizziness and balance disorders can be successfully treated by a specialized McLaren Physical Therapist.

“Vestibular & Balance Rehabilitation Programs” brochure

Dysfunction of the vestibular system is one common cause of dizziness and loss of balance.  The overall prevalence of vestibular dysfunction in the US population age 40 years and older is 35.4% corresponding to 69 million Americans (Agrawal, 2009). 

Vestibular problems commonly treated in physical therapy include Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV), vestibular hypo-function, vestibular neuritis, labrythinitis, and Meniere’s disease.  A McLaren physical therapist vestibular specialist can help decrease symptoms of dizziness between bouts of Meniere’s and also help patients who are having trouble with balance between episodes of vertigo.

Do you have a vestibular problem?  Click here to find out.
  • Does looking up make you dizzy?
  • Do you have difficulty reading?
  • Do quick movements of your head increase your problem?
  • Does bending over increase your problem?
  • Do you have difficulty getting into/out of bed?
  • Does turning over in bed increase your problem?
  • Is it difficult to walk by yourself?
  • Do you avoid heights?
  • Is it difficult for you to walk around your house in the dark?
Source: Dizziness Handicap Inventory

If the answer to any of these is yes or sometimes, you should talk to your healthcare provider about the benefits of an evaluation and treatment at McLaren’s Balance & Vestibular Physical Therapy locations.

A physician’s referral for balance assessment and treatment is required. For more information or to schedule an appointment call (810) 342-5350.

Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV)

Dizziness and vertigo are common problems for many people and can sometimes be difficult to diagnose and treat.  Dizziness can be caused by BPPV.  People with this condition can experience vertigo making them feel like they are spinning or the room is spinning around them when they move their head in certain positions.   Symptoms of dizziness appear when the head position changes in relationship to gravity such as turning over in bed, looking up and bending over. These symptoms can last a few seconds or as long as a minute and can cause nausea in some cases. 

BPPV occurs when tiny crystals (called otoconia) are displaced from the inner ear and float into the semi-circular canals where they don’t belong.  Treatment for this condition involves moving the head through a series of positions to get the crystals to move out of the canal where they cause dizziness.

inner ear photo


BPPV is assessed and treated by McLaren physical therapists who are specialized in vestibular rehabilitation.  Usually patients treated for BPPV only need to be seen a few times in the clinic to correct the problem. 


Proprioception is your body’s ability to detect the position of your body in space.  There are special sensors in your muscles, ligaments and joints that tell your brain your body’s position.  Sensation, especially in your feet, is also important information that your brain needs in order for you to have good balance.  If you have diabetes you may have changes in the sensation in your feet that could affect your balance and ability to walk and function safely.  Your McLaren physical therapist will test your proprioception and sensation to assess any deficits that need to be addressed during your physical therapy treatments.

Impairments of your musculoskeletal system such as a decrease in strength or flexibility can also lead to changes in the way you walk and complete daily activities and can increase your risk for falls.  Your McLaren physical therapist will thoroughly evaluate the strength of your extremities and core and test the flexibility of major muscle groups to determine if any of these factors impact your ability to safely function on a daily basis without a risk for falls. 

Balance impairments regardless of their cause can lead to falls. 

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Your Physical Therapy Evaluation for Balance and Vestibular problems begins with a comprehensive evaluation to include: 

  1. Neuromuscular examination including muscle strength, range of motion, sensation, posture, balance and muscle tone
  2. Oculomotor examination including basic eye movements and Vestibulo-Occular Reflex testing (VOR) assessment
  3. Positioning examination
  4. Balance/Postural control examination using functional outcome-based measures
  5. Home safety survey

An individualized physical therapy exercise program will be developed for you based on your evaluation findings to significantly improve your ability to perform daily activities.  What is most important is to recognize and treat balance problems so that you can walk, turn, sit and stand with confidence.

balance exercises photo

Physical Therapy treatments could include:

  1. Balance retraining exercises
  2. Special vestibular maneuvers
  3. Eye/head exercises
  4. Strengthening exercises
  5. Conditioning exercises
  6. Flexibility exercises
  7. Posture exercises
  8. Compensation strategies including habituation/adaptation exercises
  9. Recommendations for home modifications
  10. Home exercise program

A physician’s referral for balance assessment and treatment is required.  For more information or to schedule an appointment call (810) 342-5350.