Healthy balance is essential to fall prevention. Your sense of balance enables you to negotiate uneven ground, avoid tripping over objects, and many other daily activities we often take for granted. Balance problems make it difficult to maintain stable and upright positions while standing, walking, and even sitting. Seniors are at a higher risk of having balance trouble – 75% of Americans ages 70 and older have “abnormal” balance, and this increases to nearly 95% in those 80+ years old. Unfortunately, fear of falling makes the problem worse as it leads to decreased mobility, sedentary lifestyle, and social isolation. Fall prevention is an individual, family, and public health concern.
Falling is not simply a “normal part of aging”
Balance problems occur when one or more of these four body systems are not working properly:
- The inner ear (vestibular system)
- The musculoskeletal system (strength, posture, mobility)
- The awareness of one’s own body position (proprioception)
Additionally, many factors can negatively affect your balance, including:
- Muscle weakness and joint stiffness
- Inner ear problems
- Certain medications, such as those prescribed for depression and high blood pressure
- Lack of regular physical activity or a sedentary lifestyle
Certain medical conditions can also cause balance problems, such as:
- Stroke or other brain injury
- Chronic conditions, including Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, arthritis, and diabetes
- Spinal cord injury or peripheral nerve impairment (e.g., sensory disorders)
- Cognitive impairments and diseases (e.g., dementia)
Are you at risk?
Most people don’t realize that they have poor balance until they fall. Consequently, falls are the number one cause of death from injury in the U.S. and cause millions of fractures and other injuries each year. “Fall proofing” your home is the first step. But it’s also important to consult a medical professional to evaluate your risk and to address any physical issues that, left unchecked, could cause you to fall.
We can help you stay upright!
Our physical therapists and corrective exercise specialists can treat your balance problems by identifying the causes and customizing a program to address your specific needs. We can help reduce your risk of falling and your fear of falling by working with you to improve your posture, strength, flexibility, and mobility. Additionally, we have expertise in treating vestibular disorders. Many of our patients no longer have to use canes or walkers, allowing greater freedom of safe movement and increased activity levels!
Our 4-week Finding Balance Fall Prevention Program includes:
- Physical therapy evaluation to identify your fall risk factors
- Two sessions with a physical therapist
- Five 30-minute personal training sessions with one of our corrective exercise specialists
- Functional exercise instruction and program development
- Guidance and support
To schedule your “Finding Balance” sessions, please call us at 714-633-7227. You should complete and bring this fall self-risk assessment to your first appointment.