Unsteadiness and falls are common among people over 65 years of age, however, falling should not be accepted as a consequence of aging. The reasons for unsteadiness can be as varied as the people themselves. Often there is not one, but multiple causes for an individual’s unsteadiness. At the Center for Balance, Mobility and Wellness we understand balance and the complexity of the aging process.
At the CBMW you will receive a comprehensive initial evaluation, which will allow us to better understand the specific cause/s of your balance problem and obtain baseline measures by which we can track improvement, risk for falls and safety with a variety of activities. We will establish a plan of care consistent with your goals.
The results of the evaluation are used to create a customized therapy program designed to achieve your goals. Therapy is given one-on-one and includes therapeutic exercise, balance and coordination activities, sensory training, muscle strengthening, stretching and gait training. We use state-of-the-art equipment and evidence-based treatment techniques to effectively and efficiently achieve success. Our center is uniquely equipped with an overhead track and harness system allowing you to perform activities that challenge your balance without compromising your safety. We also provide extensive client education to encourage practice at home.
At the completion of your therapy program, your therapist may suggest a future follow-up visit to monitor your goals, see that you’ve maintained function and revise your exercise program as needed. Research indicates that ongoing exercise is essential for maintaining optimal health. Your therapist may also suggest continuing to exercise in one of our wellness classes or with our degreed and nationally certified wellness staff for motivating personal training services.
Maintaining balance is essential for carrying out activities for daily living, such as washing and dressing, getting in and out of the car, and walking upstairs. Difficulty controlling one’s balance may not only affect the ability to carry out these activities, but may also increase the risk of falling. People with balance problems often become inactive due to fear of falling. Unfortunately, inactivity often makes balance problems worse.
Balance is a complex process involving multiple systems in the body, including sensory receptors (eyes, inner ear, and proprioceptors in the muscle tendons and joints), muscle strength and joint flexibility, as well as the nervous system, which processes the sensory input, takes into account previous experience and coordinates muscle response. Medical conditions such as neuropathy and inner ear disorders, along with neurological conditions, such as stroke and Parkinson’s disease, muscle weakness or joint restrictions, can affect those systems necessary for healthy balance.
Balance not only requires well-functioning bodily systems, but also takes into account the environment in which one is moving and the activity or task one is attempting to perform from standing still to playing tennis. For example, walking on a perfectly smooth sidewalk is much easier than walking through the woods where the ground is uneven. Reaching overhead to retrieve an object off the shelf is more difficult than retrieving it at waist level or chest height. Healthy balance requires practice.
Use it or lose it!
Balance is a skill that is learned and retained through practice. As we age, we can develop medical conditions that affect our balance and lead to changes in our activity level. Often as we age, we begin to remove activities from our daily life that have likely kept our balance “practiced”. As we lessen these activities, we are likely removing the very stimulus necessary to keep our balance healthy.
At the CBMW our physical therapists, in collaboration with our wellness team, will encourage and teach you how to safely continue activities that are vital to retaining healthy balance. Healthy balance encourages active aging and active aging keeps our balance healthy.