Maintaining Balance with Age for Fall Prevention

Feb 18 | , , , ,

We all need balance. We need balance in our careers. And balance in our personal lives. But for aging adults, balance can take on an entirely different meaning. 

Most of us have experienced dizziness at some point. The unsteady, disoriented or spinning feeling that can come from having a balance disorder can be extremely debilitating. Connecting the sensory processes of the inner ear with the brain, the vestibular system is responsible for controlling balance and eye movements. 

Balance disorders are often linked to falls and can be dangerous, especially when things like aging bones and osteoporosis are factored in. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admission, according to the National Council on Aging

For people with balance disorders, Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) can be a panacea. VRT is an exercise-based therapy that teaches the brain to use other senses to regain function. Treatment often includes retraining motor control strategies, reactive balance strategies, postural awareness, and vestibulo-ocular reflex. People with balance disorders often find great success with VRT. 

Carol Mumford of Redmond was unable to walk correctly for nearly half a decade due to bouts of extreme dizziness. Desperate to regain function, she began VRT at Step & Spine Physical Therapy in Redmond, and it worked! Carol is walking better than she has in over six years. 

People who have concerns about balance and fall prevention should have an evaluation by a physical therapist. Often, people experiencing dizziness pull away from activity due to a fear of falling. However, the right activity can actually improve balance and flexibility, while building confidence. Physical therapists trained to treat vestibular and balance disorders can help push patients past their comfort levels in a safe and therapeutic environment. Many people can experience results very quickly. 

For more information about balance disorders, fall prevention, and vestibular rehabilitation therapy, visit the Step & Spine Physical Therapy website here