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Balance Training is Key to Fall Prevention
9/1/2020 1:00:00 PM

Balance Training is Key to Fall Prevention

September 21, 2020 kicks off National Falls Prevention Awareness Week. FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers will host their annual "Fight the Fall” campaign, which includes free Fall Prevention Screening at their clinics during the month of September.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of non-fatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults. Every 11 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall and every 19 minutes an older adult will die from a fall. These are staggering statistics, but falls can be prevented with balance training. "Bad falls are a constant worry for seniors and others who have physical challenges, and those worries aren’t unfounded,” says Floyd Saltzman, co-owner and physical therapist at FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers. "A person who is afraid of falling is four times more likely to fall than someone who is not. Over one in four Americans ages 65 and above – 29% of seniors – fall each year. Although we hope they’ll get right back up, many cannot. They might sustain bumps and bruises, strains and sprains, broken bones, and lasting trauma.” 

Falls are often caused by dizziness, which comes in many forms. "For most, it is vertigo, or feeling like you are turning or moving rotationally. This is often caused by an imbalance between your right and left ears,” says Saltzman. "Dizziness can also be caused by imbalance, a sensation of tilting. You might feel like you are going to fall. Lightheadedness is also described by patients as a wooziness or a foggy feeling, often caused by an issue with blood flow to the head or with inner ear issues. 

Motion sickness can cause dizziness combined with an irritated stomach, as you might experience as a passenger in a car or boat. When you feel dizzy, your behavior can sometimes make it worse and can increase your symptoms.  Anxiety or fear can also cause dizziness symptoms to feel more intense.” 

Balance and walking problems can result from orthopedic conditions, neurological disorders, or several injuries that involve the joints, muscles, and nerves. Emery DeSonier, PT, DPT at FYZICAL says three major systems are involved – vision, inner ear equilibrium, and sensory perception involving the skin, joints, muscles, and nerves. "Together, each system must do their job, tell the brain what they just did, and the brain interprets it and responds with an appropriate response and output.”

FYZICAL Therapy helps patients with balance issues through several treatment modalities:

Vestibular Physical Therapy identifies the deficits of each of the above systems and trains the other systems to make up the difference while working to recover the abilities of the weaker system. Patients with leg weakness or who have had orthopedic surgeries or injuries and have never fully recovered can benefit from this type of therapy. The balance program focuses on strength, functional mobility, endurance, gait training, and coordination activities with other specialized equipment.

Static and Dynamic Balance Retraining benefits individuals who have loss of balance, unsteadiness, or may be falling at home. Most of these patients report dizziness, but in fact are describing disequilibrium or a feeling of being off-balance. This program emphasizes practical solutions to common problems, for example difficulty getting around in the dark, walking on uneven surfaces such as carpeting or grass, and negotiating steps and curbs. Fall prevention, movement coordination, and improved safe participation in everyday activities are all high priorities of FYZICAL’s balance retraining program, which utilizes a harness and ceiling-mounted rails, allowing patients to exercise safely without the fear of falling.

FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers’ therapists take a whole-body approach to consider whether issues with the spine, hips, knees, or feet contribute to imbalances, and they provide intensive one-on-one care to help you achieve the greatest independence possible. They offer free assessments to diagnose dizziness dysfunctions and identify individuals of all ages and conditions at risk of falling. By identifying risk, future injuries can be prevented. Their skilled physical therapists can create a program specifically tailored to your needs, so you can begin your quest to regain your footing, your confidence, and your freedom.

Contact any of the three FYZICAL Therapy and Balance Centers located at 4080 Nelson Rd., Suite 500 (337) 494-7546, 2100 Oak Park Blvd. (337) 310-5116 in Lake Charles or 190 Gloria Dr. (337) 214-2930 in Moss Bluff, LA 

Strengthen your Balance at Home

Hip and ankle weakness often lead to balance problems, as does poor posture. Lower extremity strengthening and flexibility movements can help counteract these problems. Saltzman suggests these exercises that patients can do at home to improve balance.

  • Leg lifts while seated in a chair or knee marching while holding onto the back of a chair. 
  • Sit to stand exercises from a chair to strengthen the quad and gluteal muscles.
  • Practice standing on one leg while holding onto the back of a chair or walking heel-to-toe down a hallway using the walls for balance.
Posted by: Angie Kay Dilmore | Submit comment | Tell a friend




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