Dealing with Balance Issues
Patients in our rehab program often display problems with balance. Poor balance in the elderly can be particularly dangerous, as it can contribute to falls and difficulty walking. In order to address a balance issue, it is necessary to pinpoint the cause of the disorder. Balance can be affected by the deterioration of the vestibular, nervous, or muscular system. Balance can also be compromised with certain medical conditions or medications. For instance, spine disorders such as cervical or lumber stenosis or fusions can lead to balance problems due to the compromised nerve conduction.
Most commonly, the root cause of the balance issues we treat comes down to muscular weakness. Primarily, the lack of muscular strength is found in two areas, the lower extremities and the core. The lower extremity is composed of the hip, leg, or ankle. The core includes the abdominals and lower back musculature. Poor muscle strength in any of these areas can affect a patient’s sense of balance. Balance training benefits a patient’s lower extremity and core strength as well as his sense of the relative position of neighboring parts of the body and the strength of effort being employed in movement. Improvements bring increased confidence in movement and reduce the likelihood of falls. This is particularly important for the elderly and those dealing with osteoporosis.
It’s difficult to generalize about the degree of improvement likely, as an individual’s fitness level and adherence to the exercise program will influence outcomes. However, if you feel unsteady, we strongly recommend that you address balance concerns with a physician so you can be directed you to the best course of treatment.