What is causing your balance problem?
Balance is the ability to control your body's center of gravity
over a given base of support. Your body takes information
from different systems to keep you from falling or feeling
unbalanced. These systems include the visual, sensory,
and vestibular systems. Vision is needed to see the
obstacles that may be in your way. Sensation helps you feel
the ground underneath you and allows the muscles to respond to
changes in body position as you move. The vestibular system
is located within your ears and gives the brain information on the
current body position such as standing, lying on your back, or
lying on your side. Balance is best when all three of these
systems are working properly. When one or more of these
systems become impaired you may begin to feel off balance.
Whether you have a balance problem or just want to prevent a
balance disorder, there are simple steps you can take to prevent
What can you do to prevent falls?
- Have an annual eye exam
- Make sure there is adequate lighting at night especially in the
bedroom, in hallways, kitchen and in the bathroom.
- Keep a flashlight by the bed
- Install grab bars in the shower and near the toilet
- Have railings on both sides of the stairs
- Remove or fasten down throw rugs
- Remove clutter and keep walkways clear of objects you can trip
- Ask your physician or pharmacist if any of your medications can
cause lightheadedness or dizziness
- Wear non-slip shoes around the house
- Keep commonly used kitchen items within easy reach
- Secure loose wires to avoid tripping
- Use non-slip mats in the tub and on bathroom floors
How can Physical Therapy improve your balance and
Often the fear of falling leads to an inactive lifestyle that may
further cause balance problems. At Sports Physical Therapy
Institute, a physical therapist can help diagnose the source of
your balance problem and develop a personalized exercise program to
decrease these impairments in a safe way.
During physical therapy, you may work on flexibility of
muscles, strength of muscles, range of motion of joints, endurance,
or exercises targeted to decrease dizziness caused by the
vestibular system. A physical therapist can also assess your
risk of falling and recommend appropriate assistive devices if you
are at an elevated risk. The goals in physical therapy are to
reduce the fear of falling and allow the patient to continue to
lead an independent and active lifestyle.