The ability to maintain balance is a complex process that depends on multiple systems. Your sensory system including the inner ear, the eyes and feet that provides information about body position. Your motor system including your muscles and joints for coordinating the movement required to maintain balance. Your brain’s ability to process information from all these systems. In a normal healthy individual the senses of touch/position sense, vision and inner ear motions sensors work together in harmony with the brain. A person with a balance disorder, however, may have a problem with one or a combination of these systems.
Balance and Fall Prevention Benefits
Vestibular rehabilitation, a specialized form of physical therapy, can help improve balance and decrease dizziness associated with unilateral vestibular dysfunction. Your physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive evaluation to assess vestibular function and balance. Based on the evaluation and your personal goals, the physical therapist will devise an individualized program to address your specific needs and help you return to your previous level of activity. The program consists of head-eye coordination exercises as well as balance activities that will help your brain adapt to the incorrect messages coming from the weak or damaged inner ear. These exercises have been shown to be effective in treating inner ear dysfunction due to vestibular neuritis or labyrinthitis. You may need to see your physical therapist 2 to 3 times a week at first to determine the appropriate exercise and to help you pace through the activities. You will also be given a home exercise program which is important to be compliant for your brain to adjust and decrease your symptoms of dizziness. Recovery from a damaged or weak inner ear will depend on many different factors including the extent of the weakness, the length of time you have had the symptoms, age and your prior level of activity.
Balance and Fall Prevention Techniques
Older adults can remain independent and reduce their chances of falling by:
- Exercising regularly. It is important that the exercises focus on increasing leg strength and improving balance, and that they get more challenging over time. Tai Chi programs are especially good.
- Asking their doctor or pharmacist to review their medicines—both prescription and over-the counter—to identify medicines that may cause side effects or interactions such as dizziness or drowsiness.
- Having their eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year and updating their eyeglasses to maximize their vision. Consider getting a pair with single vision distance lenses for some activities such as walking outside.
- Making their homes safer by reducing tripping hazards, adding grab bars inside and outside the tub or shower and next to the toilet, adding stair railings and improving the lighting in their homes.
To lower their hip fracture risk, older adults can:
- Get adequate calcium and vitamin D—from food and/or from supplements.
- Do weight bearing exercise.
- Get screened and treated for osteoporosis.
Why choose us?
When you choose
Kelly Hawkins PT for your care needs, you are choosing a team dedicated to providing the support and healing needed to get you back to your best. Our therapists will develop a personalized treatment plan unique to your needs leveraged through leading, outcomes-driven techniques intended to improve movement and overall function goals.
About our team
Our physical therapists are specially trained in a range of specialties. We will also work collaboratively with your support network - from primary doctors to collegiate athletic trainers - to help you safely return to your day-to-day life while optimizing performance and preventing re-injury. We treat patients of all ages, and we pride ourselves on ease of access, convenience, quality of care, and a positive family-friendly environment.
At physical therapy appointments, we encourage patients to wear comfortable clothing that enables free movement and that allows the therapist access to the injured body part. Most patients wear athletic clothes to their appointments.