Mar
03

Improving Balance Reduces Falls in the Elderly

Tag: Pledger Orthopedic Spine Center, Balance, Chiropractic

Because falls account for more than half of the accident-related deaths in people over the age of 65, it is extremely important to make time to focus on improving your balance. According to the American Chiropractic Association, retraining the neurology to the muscles and joints of the lower extremities can increase one’s balance (proprioception) and decrease the risk of future injury.

Preventing falls among older people who live in their own homes is a major priority in many countries, and I believe we should be taking this seriously. Most people assume that poor balance is a natural consequence of aging. What they don’t realize is that even 5 minutes per day of balance training can prevent the loss of proprioception as we grow older—and it can be improved, regardless of our age. Everyone can improve coordination, motor skills and body control—thus preventing unnecessary injuries--with some simple balance exercises. In a study conducted by Dr. Leslie Day and colleagues of the Accident Research Centre in Australia, 1090 adults between the ages of 70 and 84 were enrolled in a randomized control study.

Dr. Day’s team has concluded that exercise was the most effective intervention tested, and the reduction in falls among their control group have been associated with improved balance. One exercise that Dr. Allman recommends to his patients takes only a minute or two and doesn’t require any special equipment. Begin this technique without shoes--barefoot or in socks.

Stand in a doorway or hall, so that you have something solid to grab onto if you require support. Holding your hands out to your sides, slowly raise one foot off the ground—aiming at first just to balance on one foot for as long as you can. Even a few seconds is fine; it’s a place to begin. Repeat using the other leg. Use the doorway or walls to aid in your balance only as necessary. Work at increasing the amount of time that you can stand on each foot without support. Learning a few simple exercises that focus on balance and posture can prevent many falls and can be a lifesaver.

If you would like to discus balance problems, please contact our office at (513) 727-2540. You can also reach us at www.allmanchiropractic.com and drallman@allmanchiropractic.com

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