Let's Get Balanced

Apr 20, 2020

“I have terrible balance.” Have you ever heard that? Or… have you said that?Over 15% of Americans 70 years old and older have been diagnosed with “abnormal balance.” Falling affects 1/3 of community dwelling older adults. Falls are the 2nd leading cause of accidental or unintentional injury deaths worldwide. Both falls and fear of falling can greatly reduce a person’s participation in the things they love.

Some of the main causes of decreased balance include:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Joint mobility restrictions
  • Sedentary lifestyle
  • Medications
  • Inner ear problems
  • Vision decline
  • Eye tracking dysfunction
  • Proprioception (the body’s ability to determine your position) complication
  • Other medial conditions, i.e. Stroke, Parkinson Disease, Multiple Sclerosis, and many others

Photo by Bekir Dönmez on Unsplash

Any dysfunction in any of these systems with disrupt the communication between each. This disruption can result in inability to maintain balance or decrease the ability to right oneself.

Studies have shown that incorporating core and balance activities to exercise programs have decreased fall risk and improved gait speed (which is another indicator of fall risk). Being active has proven to be most successful in reducing falls and therefore injury. Participation in a formal physical therapy program will assess your balance and determine the areas that could potentially lend to decreased balance.

Photo by Aziz Acharki on Unsplash

Specifically working on:

  • Assessment of environment
    • Looking at shoe wear, assessing home environments
  • Decreasing fear
    • Improving confidence with every day activities
  • Improving mobility
    • Manual therapy treatments and home exercises/stretching to address joint and tissue restrictions
  • Improving strength
    • Focusing on both extremity and core strength
  • Improving posture
    • Bringing your center of mass in line with your base of support

For ideas on some balance activities to perform at home, please check out this video with Dr. Erin!


Tags: exercise, balance

Category: Physical Therapy