Schedule Appointment

Feeling Unsteady or Having Trouble Balancing?

balance assessments

By Angie Austin, LPTA

Balance problems might not be what first comes to mind when you think of conditions physical therapy treats. However, balance impairments are something we see and treat in patients of all ages, young people and older population. First, let’s clear up any confusion there may be about balance issues and vertigo. We do also treat vertigo, which is condition involving the inner ear. Vertigo causes symptoms such as dizziness and can impact balance but it’s not treated the same as balance issues that are unrelated to vertigo.

Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position comfortably – whether you are walking, climbing stairs, standing or even sitting still.

To have good balance, your muscles need to be working together in response to your sensory systems, which include: vision, inner ear and proprioception, or the sensation you get from nerves in your skin, muscles and joints. Given the first two systems are intact; physical therapy is a valuable way to improve proprioception.

Things to look for OR reasons for balance deficits:

  • Difficulty getting up from a chair or going up or down stairs. This can indicate weakness in the musculature of the lower body
  • Difficulty walking or tendencies to reach out to furniture, walls or the arms of others to steady yourself
  • Near-fall: A stumble or loss of balance that would result in a fall if you were unable to catch yourself
  • Post-surgical or injuries involving lower extremities

Yes, balance impairments are mostly associated with the aging population, however, you might be surprised to learn that balance issues can happen to individuals at any age. Like anything, in order to have good balance, you must practice and strengthen your skeletal, postural and  core muscles.

Balance exercises are very important training components in physical therapy whether you’re younger or older. While the method is similar, the level of difficulty and functional purposes are different depending on age or the patient’s goals. With older populations, balance activities are centered around activities of daily living such as walking, standing up from a chair or stepping off a curb. When a younger person comes to us because of balance deficits, these exercises are usually centered around a sport or recreation activity. This balance training addresses higher level body movements and control.

What is your balance like? If you, or someone you know, is having trouble keeping balance or being confident performing activities of daily living, don’t wait for a scary situation like a fall to happen. Call Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300. We will do a full evaluation to determine what exercises are best suited to help address any balance deficits so you can walk, run, play a sport and live confidently.

CLICK HERE for a video that goes into more detail about your balance system. 

Tags: , , ,