BALANCE & GAIT DISORDERS
At some point in our lives, we have all felt dizzy. It is not a pleasant sensation, to say the least. For some people, however, feeling dizzy and unbalanced is a regular occurrence. Do you find yourself needing to look for walls, railings, or other objects to keep you steady on your feet? Is your equilibrium simply not what it once was? If this sounds like you, you might have a balance or gait disorder that needs to be addressed.
Are You Dealing With A Gait Disorder Or A Balance Disorder? Know The Difference.
Balance disorder –
Balance disorders are both physical and mental, as your brain may think you are moving, even when you are not. You may have a falling feeling, stagger when walking, and feel like you are floating. Blurred vision and feelings of disorientation are also common. Changes to your joint strength, mobility, and ability to sense where your joints are in space (proprioception), all have physical consequences on your balance.
Gait disorders –
Gait disorders can cause abnormal movements in the way you walk and run, and these can become exaggerated with age. They can also be caused by stroke, inner ear problems, foot conditions, or even something as simple as ill-fitting shoes.
Why Am I Having Issues With My Gait Or Balance?
Balance and gait disorders can develop for many different reasons. Many balance disorders are related to issues in the vestibular system, which is responsible for your sense of position, also known as “proprioception.” Underlying musculoskeletal and neurological disorders can cause or exacerbate a problem with your balance or gait. Fortunately, our Agoura Hills, CA physical therapy practice can help you regain your balance and correct your gait.
Some common vestibular conditions resulting in balance disorders include:
Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV) – BPPV occurs when calcium debris breaks off in the inner ear, causing issues with balance.
Neurological issues – There are hundreds of different neurological issues that can result in balance and gait problems. They may include Parkinson’s disease, brain injury, or stroke.
Injuries and ailments – Even if your brain and nervous system are working in harmony with one another, a sudden injury, disease, accident, or other ailment causing muscle weakness can interfere with your balance and make it difficult to keep yourself upright.
How Can Pro-X Physical Therapy Help Me Find Relief For My Balance Or Gait Disorder?
Physical therapy is the most effective treatment for balance and gait problems. Our physical therapist will conduct a comprehensive physical evaluation to examine your balance, gait, stance, medical history, and symptoms, before creating a personalized treatment plan made for your specific needs.
Your treatment plan for your balance or gait disorder may include the following exercises and treatment methods:
Stretching will help improve your flexibility and your range of motion and give you more control and quicker reactions to your movements. They will keep your muscles from becoming too tight and stiff, and reduce your risk of injury.
Gait retraining exercises –
Sometimes, abnormalities in gait can be corrected through “retraining” where you learn proper techniques. Runners can benefit from this kind of therapy technique as well.
Vestibular rehabilitation –
If you are living with a balance or gait disorder, our physical therapist will provide you with specific exercises that will move the calcium debris to the correct parts of your ear. This physical therapy treatment works to improve your vision, nerves, muscles, and the vestibular system as a whole, to maintain a steady balance.
Strengthening exercises –
Your physical therapy evaluation will help determine what problem areas in your body may need strengthening. Our physical therapist will provide you with strengthening exercises that will build up your muscles, thus making it much easier for you to move around and reduce your risk of injury.