Q: What symptoms and risks are most commonly associated with “bad balance”?
A: Good balance is often taken for granted. Most people don’t find it difficult to walk across a gravel driveway, transition from walking on a sidewalk to grass, or get out of bed in the middle of the night without stumbling. However, with impaired balance, such activities can be extremely challenging and sometimes dangerous.
Symptoms most commonly associated with “bad balance” can include weakness or unsteadiness, dizziness, vertigo (i.e., the feeling of spinning or that the things around you are spinning when they are not), hearing and vision problems, and difficulty with concentration and memory. Of course, falling – or the fear of falling -- is the most significant risk of having bad balance.
Falls can really cause big problems, from painful bumps, bruises and soreness to sprains that limit your function and take time to heal, to broken bones and even head and spinal cord injuries. Falls can even lead to death.
Needless to say, preventing falls is a critical challenge we must address effectively to prevent or at least mitigate pain and suffering, reduced quality of life and the seriously high costs associated with medical care and rehabilitation after a fall.
Q: “How Can I Maintain Good Balance & Equilibrium?”
A: Balance is the ability to maintain the body’s center of mass over its base of support.
Equilibrium is the feeling of steadiness, whether sitting or standing still, and especially during movement.
Properly functioning balance and equilibrium systems allow us to see clearly while moving, identify orientation with respect to gravity, determine direction and speed of movement, and make automatic postural adjustments to maintain posture and stability in various conditions and activities.
Good balance and equilibrium require adequate strength and coordination, as well as healthy sensory input from vision, proprioception (awareness of your position and level of effort), and the vestibular system (includes sense of motion, equilibrium and spatial orientation).
Healthy balance and equilibrium result when we’re properly integrating, managing and responding to all of that sensory and motor input. Injury, disease, certain drugs, as well as the aging process, can affect one or more of these components and potentially turn one’s world “upside down.”
Q: “How Can Physical Therapy Help Me?”
A: Managing balance and equilibrium dysfunction effectively requires a true team approach. This team is comprised of various well educated and highly trained professionals, including experts in the fields of medicine (for example, your primary care physician, neurologist or ear, nose and throat (ENT) specialist), audiology and rehabilitation. In close collaboration with other medical professionals, physical therapists are experts in evaluating and treating vertigo, dizziness and all things contributing to balance disorders. PTs work with you and your physician-led team of experts to ensure an accurate diagnosis and effective treatment plan to get you back on track!
Physical therapy will get you feeling stronger, steadier, safer and back in control so that your risk of falling is minimized and you can enjoy improved mobility, independence and quality of life!
…………Life Is All about Balance!
If you are experiencing problems with your balance, or sense of equilibrium, call the experts in evaluating and treating vertigo, dizziness and balance disorders.
Summerville PT & Balance offers specially trained therapists certified in vestibular rehabilitation.
Call Summerville Physical Therapy and Balance Rehabilitation for Adults and schedule your consultation today. 843-209-6375