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Better Balance

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WSVN -- Desmin Silvera looks like she's working out but she's actually battling a balance disorder.

Desmin Silvera: "I would notice the spinning, and then I would close my eyes just to stop the room from spinning, not that it did anything."

She was diagnosed with vertigo, a condition that causes symptoms like dizziness even when you're not moving.

Desmin Silvera: "It's a lot like motion sickness, like for people who have been on a cruise and feel the boat still moving."

Desmin says it's frightening.

Desmin Silvera: "I think you get more terrified because you can't focus or get a grip on what's going on."

That was until she went to the New Balance Center at North Shore Medical Center, where patients are taught to manage the symptoms.

Tamara Sawyers: "Things like this can really affect how they feel and function with activities of daily living. All right Desmin, so what we're going to do now is be on a treadmill."

Physical therapist Tamara Sawyers uses a treadmill to recreate the feeling of pushing a shopping cart at the grocery store, a dizzying experience for Desmin.

Tamara Sawyers: "So I don't want her to just focus on the movement of the treadmill, but being able to turn and look at things."

This special tilt machine is designed to help patients re-align their bodies. A dot on the screen shows Desmin where her body is and where it needs to be the hope is to prevent falls.

Tamara Sawyers: "We want to make sure that patients feel that they're safe in their societies, safe in their homes."

Tamara also re-positions Desmin's head with a series of quick movements. The goal here is to move tiny stones in the inner ear back into position relieving the vertigo. Desmin says it's not easy but you can re-gain control of your life through better balance.

Desmin Silvera: "My hope is that they understand that there is treatment that's out there that they can get help."

Diana Diaz: "The New Center is designed to help people with vertigo or other balance disorders or a history of falls."


North Shore Medical CenterRehab Services DepartmentTel: (305) 835-6155



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