Ataxia, when not moving quite as you intended.

Ataxia or limb-kinetic apraxia often involves gait (technical terms for the wobbles and walking.)

It's a worry and needs explaining, but can often be treated well (which means fixing the cause rather than suppressing the symptom.)

Mrs. H complained that she had difficulty walking and never knew quite where her right foot would land. This could be due to serious brain diseases such as multiple sclerosis or stroke. With a past history of breast cancer a brain metastasis had to be considered as well.

She also had backache due to a kink and subluxation at one Lumbar inter-vertebral joint. She had weakness of her left Gluteus medius muscle and had swung her weight over to this side to compensate. This muscle between the hip bone and thigh bone holds us upright when we take the opposite foot off the ground when walking. She was unsteadily balancing her weight over the left hip to ease the muscle's burden.

After her back was straightened out, she needed to strengthen the muscle. The exercise for this was to lift the left leg up when lying on her right side.

Ears, necks and disequilibrium.

As well as the labyrinth of the inner ear with its semicircular canals, our neck muscles are continually supplying information about posture and movement to our brain.

Malfunction in either can disturb this information and we wobble or worse. It is often difficult to work out which is the problem. Stiff joints at the top of the neck need mobilizing anyway, but benign positional vertigo from the ear needs specific extra maneuvers called log rolls for canalith repositioning.

For more on this and ataxia from vertebrobasilar ischaemia, see this page.

Vitamin B 12 stories about ataxia.

Mrs B "Couldn't walk straight on Sunday, got up and staggered to the toilet like a drunk." She improved after the B 12 injection.

Mrs G "Gets very anxious and tense, starts to wobble more when needs B 12. It builds up over several days. 5 to 7 minutes after the injection she can move a little easier - freer movement."

Mr I "Walks into door jambs (and before he had first B 12, he would try to walk straight towards a tree, but would look back and see that he'd done a curve." One month later "Hasn't walked into a door since he had last B 12 injection."

Mrs L "Unsteady on feet when needs a B 12 injection."

Ataxia is a relatively uncommon symptom of vitamin B 12 deficiency. Most people have reduced well-being or energy or sleep.

If you suspect you are short of vitamin B 12, there is more information on the
vitamin B 12 page.

Too much treatment for high BP

Anyone who is on anti-hypertensive medication may get postural hypotension, when their blood pressure drops on standing up. Giddy or ataxic gait (wobbly walking) may result. It's important to measure BP both sitting or lying and then on standing if there is any suspicion of this .

A blood pressure measurement has two figures. The top one is called the systolic reading. It is the highest level during the wave of pressure which travels down the arteries after the heart pumps. This will generally drop when we stand up.

The bottom figure is the diastolic, the lowest level during the pressure wave. This rises a little when we stand up and any drop at all now, is unhealthy.

There are a number of pharmaceuticals which can produce this "postural hypotension." Anti-depressants and fluid tablets are commonly the cause.

Adrenal gland dysfunction is a common cause also, the so called "adrenal exhaustion."

Adrenal or whole-body exhaustion?

There is considerable debate out there in scientific circles, as to whether the adrenals themselves become unresponsive and dysfunctional, or the entire HPA axis is so.

Ben Greenfield is obviously very experienced in sorting these out from other causes of poor functioning. He looks for gut inflammation/leaky gut with bacterial lipopolysaccharide absorption, thyroid dysfunction, poor sleep (< 18% of deep sleep,) lack of proper fat intake to provide acetyl choline etcetera.

He and Nora Gedgaudas use the DUTCH test in preference to saliva or serum tests. It measures adrenal hormones and their metabolites.

Even if the adrenal function is abnormal, one still needs to ask why (repeatedly, as one digs deeper and/or further back in life.) This is called root cause medicine. One example is chronic infection or parasitic infestation of our body, interfering with cortisone production.

And then there's gluten.

Idiopathic sporadic ataxia is no longer always idiopathic as the cause is known,1 40% of the time at any rate. These people have "gluten ataxia," one manifestation of NCGS - non coeliac gluten sensitivity, a condition which is still controversial but "the proof of the pudding is in the (not) eating" as they say. Probably the best chance of helping confirm it is with Cyrex testing2. See also3.

And autoimmunity.

This may account for a lot of the rest (47% in this study4.)


1. Gluten-related disorders: gluten ataxia.

2. Wheat/Gluten Proteome Reactivity & Autoimmunity

3. Transglutaminase 6 antibodies in the diagnosis of gluten ataxia.

4. Cerebellar ataxia as a possible organ-specific autoimmune disease.

Link from ataxia back to starting page of site.


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