September is Fall Prevention Month!
7 things that may contribute your Dizziness and Balance
Are you living with dizziness or disequilibrium? Do you have difficulty changing positions? Have you had a previous fall? What contributes to your vertigo?
- Changes in aging systems. Your visual, sensory and vestibular systems in combination with your muscles are important for staying upright in your world. All of these systems work together to minimize your dizziness or imbalance (e.g. disequilibrium). Working on your neck motion and eye coordination and scanning can improve your vision especially for driving! Standing with eyes open feet together holding a countertop can challenge your balance! Changing positions may create dizziness or light headedness or vertigo. Or when you move from sitting to standing you may feel light headed, you may have a drop in Blood Pressure. Or vertigo when your world moves around you and you feel off balance.
- Changes in strength that effect your balance and walking. Have you been told that you cannot improve your balance or decrease your dizziness? Have you had difficulty with dizziness or balance for a few weeks, months, years? Has your walking speed decreased? You do not need to live with reduced physical functioning. You can improve your strength, flexibility, endurance, and ultimately your eye-head coordination, dizziness and balance. Research strongly suggests that people in their 40’s begin to lose strength; even people in their 90’s can improve strength. Begin an strengthening and flexibility program gradually increasing under the supervision of your physical therapist.
- Too many Medications or Polypharmacy. Do you take more than ten (10) medications? Many medications interact and the effects are cumulative that can lead to dizziness, vertigo, imbalance or disequilibrium. Medications can also contribute to fatigue or weakness. If any of these are true, you need your medications reevaluated by your PT.
- Mood changes. Has your quality of life decreased because of your dizziness? Are you basically satisfied with your life? Is your mood out of sorts because you feel you cannot go out and be with friends or family? Call a friend or family member to say hello or volunteer to help someone or a cause.
- Fear of falling. Are you fearful of falling? Fear of falling may be a common frustration. Fear of falling is most common after one or more falls. Use of a device such as a cane or walker may provide you with some more confidence. If you don’t like the idea of a cane, dress it up! Show your personality!
- Home hazards. Is your home a fall hazard? Do you have lights in each room? Do you have handrails to hold in the bath? Keeping your home safe and free from hazards is important to avoid falls. If you have dizziness and difficulty scanning your environment, you have need to declutter. If you have disequilibrium, keeping areas in hallways and in your kitchen, bedroom, bathroom and living areas free of throw rugs to avoid trips and slips, may help you to avoid injury.
- Chronic falls – Two or more falls in the last year. Do you have medical problems that contribute to your dizziness or falls? (Cancer, diabetes, stroke, Parkinson’s?) If you have had two or more fall over the past year, you have a chronic fall problem. A fall is defined as “any change in body position resulting in contact with the ground or with another lower level” (REF) If you have low blood pressure, you may suddenly feel light-headed. Lightheadedness differs from dizziness in that you may ability to turn your head without vertigo.
Would you like to learn more about physical activity and exercises to improve your strength, balance and walking? There are exercises and physical activities that can improve your ability to decrease dizziness and disequilibrium.
Ask your physical therapist for a one-on-one evaluation, education and an individualized program just for YOU! Improve your quality of life!
5 Top Activities and Exercises to improve your balance and walking and dizziness:
1. Eye-head coordination: turning your head side to side, in sitting focus on a target. Can be done in standing holding a firm surface.
2. Flexibility: daily ankle circles and ankle pumps, hamstring stretches
3. Strength training: 2 to 3 days per week standing toe and heel raises, lifting weights with good form for both arms and legs
4. Balance retraining: standing near a countertop holding with both hands, maintain upright posture feet together for 30 seconds
5. Walking: 30 minutes daily – use a heel toe smooth pattern and take longer steps. Use walking poles for improved confidence.
Every exercise bout, physical activity and walk counts – park a little further away from your destination! All activities are cumulative throughout your day.
If you would like to learn more, contact us for a Free Report and/or a Free One-On-One Discovery Consultation Visit to learn more, contact us today.
ahnewPT@gmail.com or 1-210-833-8336
Reference: PREVENTING FALLS: A Guide to Implementing Effective Community-Based Fall Prevention Programs. CDC – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. National Center for Injury Prevention and Control. 2nd Edition. 2015.