People of all ages may experience some sort of difficulty in maintaining their balance throughout the day to day life, but they may not realize physical therapists can assist in improving their balance. Balancing is being able to maintain an even distribution of weight in order to stay upright, and by having good balance, the chance of falling will be less likely, along with the injuries that can occur from falling.
The reasons someone might be having difficulty balancing include muscle weakness, joint stiffness, inner ear problems, lack of activity, aging, and certain medications. Medical conditions may also be the cause of one’s balance issues, including strokes, Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, brain injury, arthritis, spinal cord injuries, cognitive diseases, and diabetes.
Meeting with a physical therapist can help in diagnosing your balance issues, which they will then be able to create a plan to improve your balance for the future. Discussing health history will be the physical therapist’s first duty in trying to diagnose the situation. Treatments can begin as soon as balance issues are diagnosed and evaluated.
Depending on the needs of the patient, a physical therapist’s treatments can vary. If someone is at a higher risk of falling, the physical therapist can help in assessing problem footwear or hazards in the home that may increase the risk of falling. The fear of falling may also decrease with the help of a physical therapist as they can help you regain confidence in your balance and mobility. Mobility can also be improved with the help of a physical therapist to ensure you move around with more ease and coordination, improving your balance overall.
Static balance, which is balance while standing or sitting still, and dynamic balance, which is maintaining balance while moving, can be improved with individualized exercises a physical therapist teaches their patients. Along with these exercises, there will be an increase in strength that will allow for improved balance. A physical therapist can be beneficial in assessing your balance issues and can help to improve your balance for years to come.