Many people never give a second thought to their balance, but once it starts to suffer, the effects can be significant. Age or a variety of health conditions can affect your balance, making walking a challenge. Furthermore, the likelihood that elderly people have osteoporosis can mean that a simple fall can result in a break and disability. In fact, each year, hundreds of thousands of adults in the United States are admitted to hospitals for broken hips—with falls a common culprit.
This is where physical therapy can play an important role. If you experience difficulties with your balance, we can administer a balance assessment. Then, we can design a personalized program to ensure that you can walk to the best of your ability. Exercises can be an important tool to improve your balance. Many exercises will help build muscle strength, particularly in your legs. Leg lifts to the side and back, and knee lifts performed two to three times a day at home while holding onto a table or chair can help you maintain strong leg muscles, help you walk comfortably and prevent falls. Other exercises include the use of parallel bars. Here, we stand behind you while you shift your weight from your right to your left leg in a swaying motion. As you get used to performing the exercise correctly, you can shift your weight forward and backward. Eventually, you will be able to do the exercise without the aid of parallel bars. Some physical therapists have found that Nintendo Wii games can effectively treat patients who suffer from balance problems, especially those recovering from strokes. In particular, therapists at Bridgeport Hospital’s Rehabilitation Unit in Connecticut report that patients have been able to hold their balance longer after playing tennis using the remote controller and the game on Wii Sports. Other facilities in the United States and Canada have incorporated the machine into their physical therapy programs with great success. As your treatment progresses, we will add exercises to help you to maintain your level of function. Poor balance can strike from many causes, but with regular physical therapy, you can continue to enjoy walking and living independently once again.
Schedule your physical therapy appointment today at any of our 20 locations throughout Northern Virginia and parts of Maryland. The Jackson Clinics physical therapy in Hagerstown, MD opening soon!