The conventional approach to healthcare focuses on localizing and treating specific pathology. While this model is effective in treating acute localized conditions, it has proven inadequate in treating patients with chronic balance disorders.
The challenge lies in the fact that Balance Control is a complex multi-system process, and balance dysfunction can be caused by problems in any one or several of the contributing systems. For these patients, evaluating the individual components in isolation will not identify or define the true nature of the balance problem.
Even when specific pathology is identified, the resulting impairments and functional limitations can vary considerably from one patient to the next, due to the brain’s adaptive response. Patients with similar pathologies may not respond the same way to a given treatment.
It is essential that the clinical approach to managing these patients include both conventional diagnostic procedures and objective assessments of their impairments and functional limitations. The most effective strategy to managing these complex patients is an evidence-based multidisciplinary approach that focuses on pathology, impairments, functional limitations, and resultant disability1-4.
- Sandy LG, Gibson R (1996). “Managed care and chronic care: challenges and opportunities.”Managed Care Quarterly 4: 5-11
- World Health Organization (1999). ICDIH-2 International Classification of Function and Disability. Beta-2 draft. Short Version. Geneva, Switzerland.
- World Health Organization (1997). International Classification of Disease, 9th rev. Clinical Modification. New York, NY.
- Verbugge, L, Jette (1994). “A disablement process.” Soc Sci Med. 38: 1-14.