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How to Maintain Your Balance Into Old Age

How to Maintain Your Balance Into Old Age

 Being steady on your feet is something you might take for granted when you’re young, but aging can cause your balance to decline in several ways. Specific balance and gait disorders can make you prone to falls and the injuries that happen with them. Additionally, your muscles, bones, and joints may become less reliable with age. Whether your balance problems are linked to one condition or multifactorial, taking steps to maintain your balance is critical to your well-being and quality of life. 

Elation Physical Therapy provides balance disorder assessments and individualized physical therapy to improve your balancing abilities in Houston, Pearland, Cypress, and Katy, Texas. Our team of professional physical therapists and staff work closely with you to hone in on the underlying causes of your balance problems and rehabilitate you to stay steady and injury-free. 

In this blog, we’ll review some of the most common balance problems in older adults and share some helpful tips for maintaining your balance as you age. 

Why your balance falters with age

To understand balance disorders and how they develop, you must first understand the many organs and systems involved in helping you keep your balance. Problems can occur within any of these systems, resulting in poor balance or a full-blown balance disorder. To stay steady and upright, you rely on your:

Inner ear

Also called the vestibular system, your inner ear includes a group of small organs and canals that work together to help you keep your balance. Endolymph, a fluid, fills your inner ear and shifts around when you move your head. The movement of the endolymph triggers receptors in the canals of your inner ear, telling your brain about your head’s movement. Conditions like Meniere’s disease originate in the inner ear and can cause vertigo and balance problems. 

Visual and somatosensory systems

Your somatosensory system is an integral part of your nervous system. This system’s role is to provide input to your brain about the positioning of your body. Your eyes are also important for maintaining balance because they provide visual input including depth perception. 

Musculoskeletal or neuromuscular systems

Even if your somatosensory, visual, and vestibular systems are functioning perfectly, you might experience balance problems because of musculoskeletal disorders, including arthritis, neuropathy, multiple sclerosis (MS), and muscle imbalances linked to injuries. 

Building great balance with balance training

At-home movements can help you exercise all of the systems involved in balance to prevent falls and instability. Try these exercises at home for better balance: 

While practicing exercises like these, doing yoga, or engaging in any type of exercise that improves balance, it’s important to move slowly and mindfully. It’s okay to hold onto the wall or a nearby stationary object for support. 

Specific behaviors, such as excessive alcohol intake or taking certain medications, can exacerbate balance problems caused by any of the above causes, so it’s important to be extra cautious and informed about side effects. If you think a medication is causing balance problems, be sure to inform your physician. 

How we can help

Our physical therapy team provides expert balance disorder assessments to evaluate the extent of your balance problems and determine their cause. They then create a tailored treatment plan based on your diagnosis, including advanced strategies like aquatic therapy, orthotics, and assistive devices. 

To improve your balance and work toward other functional goals in physical therapy, call Elation Physical Therapy or schedule a consultation online today. 

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