Get Your Balance Back with Physical Therapy
If You are Limited by a Balance or Gait Disorder, Physical Therapy can Help You Get Back on Your Feet
Is your balance not quite what it used to be? Do you find yourself reaching out for walls, railings, or other objects to balance yourself? Have you noticed pain in your hips, knees, or other joints that make it difficult for you to walk? These are all indications of a balance or gait disorder.
At Taylor Rehab Physical Therapy, we can manage your symptoms and in many cases, we can help relieve your condition altogether. There are many reasons why this kind of condition may occur, and it can cause both physical and mental limitations in your daily life. Underlying musculoskeletal and neurological disorders can cause or aggravate a balance or gait problem. Fortunately, physical therapy in Mooresville can help.
To find out more about how our balance and gait disorders services can benefit you, contact our Mooresville physical therapy office today.
Physical Therapy treatments for balance and gait disorders
Physical therapy is the best option for balance and gait disorders. Our Mooresville physical therapists can provide you with the best techniques for improving your balance and ability to walk.
When you arrive for your initial consultation, our physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive physical evaluation to examine your balance, gait, medical history, and symptoms, before creating a personalized treatment plan made for your specific needs. This treatment plan may include:
Stretching will help improve your flexibility and your range of motion. This will give you more control and quicker reactions with your movements, reducing your risk of injury and falls. It will also keep your muscles from becoming too tight and stiff. Stretching can improve the ability of your feet to clear the floor during gait and reduce risk of tripping or falling.
Your evaluation will help determine what the problem areas in your body may be. Our physical therapists will provide you with strengthening exercises that will build up your muscles, thus making it much easier for you to move around and reduce your risk of injury and falls.
Gait training exercises
Gait training is a specific form of physical therapy that focuses on improving the way you walk and stand. Our physical therapists will work with you on improving your posture and balance during gait so you can perform activities of daily living and recreational activities with less difficulty. Our therapists can also work with you to improve your independence and confidence to walk using assistive devices like a cane or walker if needed.
Balance training exercises
These balance exercises are customized to your unique needs and involve changing several variables such as foot position, balance surface, head movement, and eye movement in order to improve your “static balance”. Static balance is the ability to stand still while performing a task such as cooking a meal. Our physical therapists will also work with you to improve your “dynamic balance”, or the ability to maintain body position while you walk, perform head movements, arm movements, or while mult-tasking. This is important for many daily activities such as climbing a ladder, walking on sand, grocery shopping, performing yard work, and for reducing risk of falls.
If your balance problems are due to disequilibrium, dizziness, blurry vision during movement or vertigo, our physical therapists can help train your inner ear (vestibular system), vision and sensation to work better together to improve your balance and gait. This can help you perform activities of daily living, social activities or work with less difficulty.
What’s causing my balance or gait disorder?
Balance and gait disorders can develop from many different underlying conditions. Balance is the combination of several body systems working together including the vestibular system, somatosensory system, and visual system. Your vestibular system includes your inner ear, which is a collection of fluid filled canals and sensory organs that provide us with information on head position, movement and balance. The somatosensory system includes nerves and receptors that provide sensation to our skin, muscles and joints and carries messages from these areas to and from the brain to maintain body position and balance. The visual system is also extremely important for maintaining balance and body position and it interacts with both the vestibular and somatosensory system to keep us upright. Any dysfunction in these three systems can result in a gait or balance disorder and increase fall risk.
Some common conditions resulting in balance disorders include:
Injury or ailment
Even if your brain and nervous system are working in harmony with one another, a sudden injury, disease, or other ailment causing muscle weakness and deconditioning can interfere with your balance and make it difficult to keep yourself upright.
This may include Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, or stroke. Anything that affects your neurological system can also impact your balance.
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
This occurs when calcium debris breaks off in the inner ear, causing issues with balance.
How can I tell the difference between a balance or gait disorder?
Balance and gait disorders belong to a family of functional problems that interfere with your positional awareness, your normal means of walking or running, and your ability to keep yourself upright.
Balance and gait disorders are closely related, but they do have some distinct differences. Balance disorders are both physical and mental, as your brain may think you are moving, even when you are not. Changes to your muslce strength, mobility, and ability to sense where your joints are in space (proprioception), all have physical consequences on your balance.
Gait disorders can cause abnormal movements in the way you walk and run, and these can become exaggerated with age. According to Move Forward Physical Therapy, gait disorders account for 17 percent of senior falls.
Looking for help? Contact us today
Are you looking to get back on your feet? Request an appointment at Taylor Rehab Physical Therapy today! We’ll help you find the balance you’re looking for after just a few sessions.