Balance problems make it difficult for people to maintain stable and upright positions when standing, walking, and even sitting. Older people are at a higher risk of having balance problems; 75% of Americans older than 70 years are diagnosed as having “abnormal” balance.
A range of factors can cause balance problems, including:
- Muscle weakness
- Joint stiffness
- Inner ear problems
- Certain medications (such as those prescribed for depression and high blood pressure)
- Lack of activity or a sedentary lifestyle
- Simple aging
- Medical conditions
- Stroke, Parkinson’s disease, Multiple sclerosis, Brain injury, Arthritis, Spinal cord injury, Cognitive diseases and Diabetes
Physical therapists offer numerous options for treating balance problems, based on each person’s needs.
They are trained to evaluate multiple systems of the body, including the muscles, joints, inner ear, eye tracking ability, skin sensation, and position awareness in the joints (proprioception).
Physical therapists are experts in prescribing active movement techniques and physical exercise to improve these systems, including strengthening, stretching, proprioception exercises, visual tracking, and inner ear retraining.
Your physical therapist can help treat your balance problems by identifying their causes, and designing an individual treatment program to address your specific needs, including exercises you can do at home.