When thinking about physical therapy exercises, a handful of individuals often times believe about strengthening and stretching exercises — the very notable exercises that a handful of individuals do at the gym.
But what about balance? Did you know your physical therapist can assist in improving your balance with specific exercises?
If you have fallen, then you clearly understand how important it is to maintain your balance as you walk or sitback. An expert Palmdale Physical Therapist is a movement expert who can help you improve your balance so that you can easily maintain safe functional mobility.
Individuals who may engage in balance exercises might include the following:
Older people with limited functional mobility
- Individuals who have fallen
- Individuals with neurological conditions, such as a stroke, that may cause balance impairments
- Athletes who are injured
- Individuals who have had surgery
- People with vertigo
Many Palmdale Physical Therapist will inform you that if you first meet your physical therapist, she or he may assess your balance.
If it is easily figured out that your balance is impaired, our Palmdale Physical Therapist say that a treatment strategy may be developed that includes exercises to help improve your balance to maximize your safe functional mobility.
Where Does Balance Come From?
Three systems in your body function together to help you stay upright with outstanding balance. Some of these include:
- Your visual system
- Your vestibular system in your inner ear
- Your proprioceptive system in your muscles and joints
First, your visual system works to provide your brain data about where your body is in relation to your environment.
Individuals with impaired vision may have a hard time with balance because of the inability to determine exactly where they are. After assessing your balance, your physical therapist may ask about your vision and if you wear corrective lenses.
Making revisions for your vision or corrective lenses falls outside of the scope of practice for physical therapists, but your local Palmdale Physical Therapist may advise that you visit an eye doctor to make certain that your eyes are working optimally.
Your vestibular system is located in your inner ear, and it functions to provide your brain information about the position of your head. The vestibular structures (you have one on each side of your head) act like tiny levels.
They are filled with fluid, and as you proceed and flip your head, the fluid melts to one side of the vestibular arrangement and activates the nerves there.
These nerves then communicate with your brain, telling it the place of your head. Damage or an impairment along with your vestibular system may lead to vertigo, or spinning sensations, as you move your head.
Your proprioceptive system is a set of specialized nerve endings on your joints, tendons, and joints of the body. These nerves communicate with your brain, telling it when and how a muscle is contracting, as well as information about position feeling.
An injury, surgery, or a neurological condition may impair your proprioception, leading to decreased balance.
Your Palmdale Physical Therapist can assess these three methods and figure out the factors that may lead to impaired balance. Then, she or he can prescribe specific exercises to help improve your balance.
How You Can Boost Balance
Your own body can drastically change and grow in response to specific balance exercises, and this can lead to improved balance and safe functional mobility.
Four basic balance exercises that your Palmdale Physical Therapist may prescribe comprise the following. Make sure to check with your doctor prior to beginning these, or any other exercise, for the balance:
Single leg stance: Discover something stable to hold on, and then lift one foot off the floor. Hold this position for 30 seconds, and then repeat with the other foot.
Most local Palmdale Physical Therapist will tell you that you can higher the challenge by letting go of the stable thing you are holding or simply by closing your eyes while standing on one foot.
Tandem walking using a heel-to-toe pattern: Standing vertical, walk forward by placing one heels straight in front of the toes on the opposite foot. Walk forward for 10 paces. You can make this more challenging by walking backward at a toe-to-heel pattern. Be sure something stable, such as you your kitchen counter tops, is shut for safety.
Walking with an assortment of head motions: Walk forward for 10 paces while turning your head left and right, scanning across the room as you walk. Then, walk forward while nodding your head up and down. The changing visual field will challenge your balance and equilibrium systems.
Altering your visual system as you move to challenge your balance: Print out a checkerboard design or any other design that can create altered visual images.
Our Palmdale Physical Therapist suggest you tape this design to the wall, and walk forward toward it while staring directly at the design. Next, walk backward, keeping your eyes focused on the design. This altered visual field can challenge your balance and overall balance.
Your local Palmdale Physical Therapist may use special pieces of exercise equipment to help challenge your balance as well. These may include:
- The BAPS board
- A wobble board
- Spongy pieces of foam
- Videos that challenge your own visual system
Our Palmdale Physical Therapist say that the key to enhancing your balance is to create situations that challenge your balance. This helps the processes of your body adapt and change, hopefully leading to improved balance and muscular control.
Something to be aware of: Creating situations that make your balance more difficult may lead to falls as you are doing the exercise.
Our Palmdale Physical Therapist suggest you should just perform balance exercises that are safe for you to do.
Working closely with your Palmdale Physical Therapist can ensure that you do the right exercises that challenge your balance whilst still maintaining safety.
First Steps to Improving Balance with Physical Therapy
If you have fallen or feel as though your balance is impaired, you need to consult with your doctor for an assessment. Ask your doctor to refer you to a physical therapist for a complete balance evaluation.
Your Palmdale Physical Therapist can assess things out and get you started on the path to improving your balance.
In addition, you may also be able to visit your physical therapist via direct access; no doctor’s referral is needed, so if you feel as though you want to learn some new balance exercises, just call your local Palmdale Physical Therapist and explain your needs.