APEX Brain Centers

Why Good Balance is Important for Brain Health

Why Good Balance is Important for Brain Health – You may often ask yourself, “Does my ability to maintain a healthy balance have anything to do with how well I think, remember, and solve problems?” Well, maybe that exact thought (or anything close to it) has never actually crossed your mind, but it very well should!

The Benefits (and Consequences) of Bipedalism

Our ability to stand on two legs is nothing short of remarkable. Becoming bipedal is possibly our greatest feat as human beings. Balancing on the stilts we call legs requires a tremendous amount of brainpower. And walking, that’s an even greater accomplishment! Then why isn’t everyone talking about this? While standing, and even more so while walking, we are constantly in a state of falling. Think about this, when someone’s brain is “offline” due to alcohol consumption, disease, or simply waking up from deep sleep.

Our brain requires constant and precise input from the many sensory receptors located in our eyes, inner ears (vestibular system). Any damage to these systems, or changes in our brain’s control over these systems, will lead to measurable changes. It works both ways.

The Connection Between Balance and Cognition

Bipedal locomotion (walking on two legs) has long been associating with our larger and more complex human brains. From our early ancestors’ rudimentary tool-making abilities to our descendants’ possibilities of inhabiting other planets in the future (for better or for worse), only humans are capable of generating the cognitive power to do such things. As much as I love my dogs, I cannot see them ever being able to sit and type an article as I sit to type this one (that is, at least while they remain on four legs)!

Over the past several decades, research has been accumulating to support the fact that our ability moves through our environment.. A groundbreaking paper published in the Journal of Vestibular Research, Does Vestibular Damage Cause Cognitive Dysfunction in Humans, demonstrates that the degree of damage to the vestibular system is directly correlated to changes in the hippocampus, which is a key component of memory and higher cognitive function.

A more recent paper published in the journal Stroke entitled Association of Postural Instability With Asymptomatic Cerebrovascular Damage and Cognitive Decline discusses the irrefutable link between poor balance, cognitive decline, and small blood vessel disease in the brain. Subjects that had a reduced ability to stand on one leg were clearly showing to have lower cognitive functions. The lead author of this study urged that those with postural instability (impaired balance) should receive special attention.

Noted in an article entitled Poor Balance Tied to Small-Vessel Disease, Cognitive Decline by Pauline Anderson on Medscape referencing the above-mentioned paper was the simple neurological observation of people’s ability to “rise, stand and walk” as “the single most important part of the entire neurologic examination.” This was quoted by Dr. Jose Biller from Loyola University’s Department of Neurology. As with any general observation test, if someone is unable to “rise, stand and walk” clearly moderate to advanced stages.

Dynamic posturography, or computerized assessment of postural systems, is the gold standard for measuring such abnormalities. Testing of eye movements with videonystagmography (VNG) and neurological evaluation of muscles and joints will help determine if the associated.

Please read my blog The Importance of Early Screening for Alzheimer’s, Dementia, and Cognitive Decline to find a more comprehensive list of physical tests that can be performed.

What to Do if You Are Having Balance Problems

With early detection of balance problems, you are in the driver’s seat and have the full ability to act abnormalities. As with anything else in your body, (or your house, your car, etc.) the longer you wait to act.. If you have been having problems standing or walking, make an appointment with a practitioner who specializes in balance issues.

Dr. Michael S. Trayford is a Board Certified Chiropractic Neurologist and Neurofeedback Specialist with over 20 years of experience in the practice of advanced functional neurology. He is one of the most highly sought-after brain rehabilitation specialists because of the life-changing outcomes his patients consistently experience. After over a decade in private practice and working alongside other pioneers in the field, Dr. Trayford developed his multimodal intensive brain training and rehabilitation program built around the science of Neuroplasticity – the ability of the brain to learn and grow dependent upon the stimulation it receives from its environment. He later founded APEX Brain Centers to combine his ground-breaking rehabilitation approach with a unique patient and caretaker-centered care model. Under Dr. Trayford’s leadership, APEX Brain Centers has successfully treated thousands of patients and earned the reputation of a world-renowned brain training and rehabilitation practice. Since its inception, Dr. Trayford has been a leader of the Brain Training revolution treating patients worldwide. In addition, he is a published journal contributor and international lecturer. His experience with various patients of all ages and neurological conditions has given him a unique perspective on brain health and human performance. He is also well-versed in collaborating with other health care professionals, making him an invaluable asset to any care team. Dr. Trayford was awarded the Functional Neurologist of the Year distinction by the International Association of Functional Neurology and Rehabilitation, where he is a proud member and conference lecturer. Currently, he serves on the Advisory Council for the Dementia Society of America and the Board of Directors for the International Society for Neuroregulation and Research. He is also a servant leader who has dedicated his adult life to serving multiple communities through Rotary International and other notable causes. When he’s not treating patients, Dr. Trayford usually reads or researches anything related to the brain, human performance, and leadership. He also loves spending time outdoors with his wife Denise, their two daughters, and dogs in the beautiful mountains of western North Carolina. https://www.linkedin.com/in/drmichaeltrayford/


  1. Terril Heilman on March 25, 2022 at 5:07 pm

    I am learning that my loss of balance due to a small stroke in my cerebellum only a year and a half ago has led to a cognitive decline. My Medicare Advantage provider in Colorado found this stroke on a specialized CT scan bout one year ago during the Covid Pandemic, but they could not start any therapy at that time.
    Now, I am trying to find a way to correct my balance as much as possible and to stop my cognitive decline as much as possible. Do you have any clinics in Denver, Colorado?

    Terril Heilman

    • admin on March 25, 2022 at 5:12 pm

      Hello. We do not have a clinic in Denver. The center we knew of there has closed and we have hired one of the doctors here to Asheville, NC. Our programs are immersive in nature where you would spend 1-3 weeks with us for all phases of rehabilitation. Please call us at 828.708.5274 to schedule consultation to discover options for you. Take care.

Leave a Comment

Find Out if Brain Rehabilitation Can Help


Get your questions answered and understand treatment options by one of our board-certified physicians with extensive functional neurology experience.

Consultations are free, 15-minute phone calls, scheduled Monday through Friday.

Recent Blog Posts

A New Perspective on Addiction Recovery: Exploring the Brain-Based Approach

Addiction recovery has always been a complex and challenging journey, both for those ...

Redefining Addiction Recovery: Brain-Based Strategies for Success

In the complex realm of addiction recovery, the brain plays a pivotal role. ...

Understanding Addiction: Brain’s Role in Recovery Explained

Addiction is a complex issue that affects tens of millions of individuals worldwide. ...

The Journey to Recovery: Living and Coping with Stroke

Experiencing a stroke can be life-changing and the subsequent journey to recovery can ...

Brain Fog After COVID: Deciphering the Mystery for a Clearer Mind

Brain fog is a term often used to describe a variety of symptoms ...

Revolutionizing Addiction Recovery: Brain-Based Solutions for Lasting Change

Addiction is a highly complex issue that affects tens of millions of people ...

A New Perspective on Addiction Recovery: Exploring the Brain-Based Approach

Addiction recovery has always been a complex and challenging journey, both for those struggling with addiction and for ...

Redefining Addiction Recovery: Brain-Based Strategies for Success

In the complex realm of addiction recovery, the brain plays a pivotal role. It shapes our behaviors, molds ...

Understanding Addiction: Brain’s Role in Recovery Explained

Addiction is a complex issue that affects tens of millions of individuals worldwide. By seeking to understand the ...
See if APEX Can Help

Schedule a free, confidential consultation with one of our board-certified physicians.