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Why Do I Feel Off Balance?

Osteoporosis

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.

We have three systems that all work together so we have good balance.  We have our:

  • Balance organ, which is our vestibular system in the inner ear.
  • Leg strength. Any kind of compromising effect on your muscle strength will affect your balance. If you’re dealing with knee pain or hip pain your muscles tend to get weaker. So there’s decreased stability in those joints, which increases your risk for losing your balance possibly causing you to fall.
  • Visual component which we rely heavily on when something else is not working properly.

 

Things to look for:

  • 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.

 

Diabetes is a common cause of balance issues.  Diabetics can start to lose sensation in their feet. Think about when you’re walking. If you’re not wearing proper shoes or if you’re walking on an uneven surface, you don’t have that sensation in the bottom of your feet to determine what is under you. You could step on something or you might not feel that there is an issue with the concrete outside.  You will then be more likely to stumble and lose your balance and possibly have a fall.

As we get older, we may have cardiac or visual issues that require medications. One of the main side effects for medications is feeling lightheaded. Think about blood pressure medicine. You’re trying to decrease your blood pressure so when you move quickly or change position quickly, your blood pressure decreases quickly causing you to feel lightheaded. When you get up from bed in the morning, you might feel this and are at risk of losing your balance and falling. This can be an especially common occurrence with individuals inn their 70s and 80s. Most of their falls occur in the home and a lot of that has to do with medication management.

Physical Therapy can help you regain your balance.  Balance problems might not be what first comes to mind when you think of conditions physical therapy treats. However, balance impairments are something that is commonly seen in both the younger as well as the older population.  It’s important to get your balance issues assessed and addressed as soon as possible to help avoid the risk of falls and further injury, such as a hip fracture or ankle break or sprain when attempting to go up and down stairs or when stepping off a curb, so you can walk, run and play a sport and live confidently and independently.

 

If you, or someone you know, is having trouble keeping balance or being confident performing activities of daily living:  CALL Loudoun Sports Therapy Center TODAY at 703-450-4300.

 

At Loudoun Sports Therapy Center, we can address any balance issues you may be having.   For 5 balance assessments you can try to test your balance, CLICK HERE.

 

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

 

 

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