Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Your sense of balance comes from many different systems working together to maintain the stability of your body and your vision. Good balance depends on correct information from several systems within your body, proper use of that information by your brain, and the right response from your muscles.
Sensory information comes to your brain from your visual, somatosensory, and vestibular systems:
Information from all of these systems travels to the brain stem. The brain stem also gets information from other parts of the brain, mostly about previous experiences that affect your sense of balance. Your brain can control balance by using the information that is most important for a particular situation. For instance:
Once your brain stem sorts out all of this information, it sends messages to the eyes and other parts of your body to move in a way that will help you keep your balance and have clear vision while you are moving.
Acknowledgments: Shannon L.G. Hoffman, PT, DPT, and APTA’s Neurology Section
Article originates: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/resources/detail.aspx?cid=96045076-7b7f-4842-9419-477960018747#.VCsvQ0u4lFI
Friday, June 3, 2011
Balance may be improved with exercises that strengthen the ankle, knee, and hip muscles and with exercises that improve the function of the vestibular (balance) system. A simple assessment of your current balance can be done at home.
Do not attempt to do this test alone-make sure that you have someone next to you to decrease the potential risk of falling.
Perform this test standing with a counter surface in front of you:
1. Stand tall, wearing flat, closed shoes, with your arms folded across your chest. Keep your eyes open, focus on an object in front of you, raise one leg, bending the knee about 45 degrees, and start a stopwatch.
2. Remain on one leg, stopping the watch immediately if you uncross your arms, tilt sideways more than 45 degrees, move the leg you are standing on, or touch the raised leg to the floor.
3. Repeat this test with the other leg.
4. Compare your performance to normal results for various ages:
Rubenstein LZ. Falls in older people: epidemiology, risk factors, and strategies for prevention. Age Ageing. 2006;35:Suppl2:ii37-ii41.Free Article
COL Barbara A. Springer, PT, PhD, OCS, SCS; COL Raul Marin, MD; Tamara Cyhan, RN, BSN; CPT Holly Roberts, MPT, GCS; MAJ Norman W. Gill, PT, DSc, OCS, FAAOMPT. Normative values for the unipedal stance test with eyes open and closed. J Geriatr PhysTher. 2007;30:8-15. Article Summary on PubMed
Information can be found at original source: http://www.moveforwardpt.com/resources/detail.aspx?cid=df267ad6-e463-4547-b111-0b5619442b7c#.VCsvdUu4lFI
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