Balance is vital to everyday life and simple activities such as getting out of a chair, walking, bending over to put on shoes, washing your hair, driving a car, or going shopping. When balance problems develop there can be serious consequences: risk for falls increase, attention span can be shortened and abnormal sleep patterns can result, causing excess fatigue. For individuals with a medical condition, the ability to maintain balance is even more complex. The CHI St. Joseph’s Health Balance and Vestibular Program provides vestibular physical therapy and can help individuals whose lives have been disrupted by dizziness and loss of balance, regain their independence.
Why do we lose our balance?
Loss of balance and falls are not inevitable as we grow older. However, balance and dizziness problems can significantly increase with age, as well as the risk for more serious injuries. To complicate matters further, falls are typically not the result of a single cause or risk factor. More often, they are the result of a combination of factors. That is why patients can benefit from their physician and physical therapist working together to diagnose, treat and prevent future loss of balance.
Good news for getting help
The CHI St. Joseph’s Health Balance and Vestibular Program can help individuals whose lives have been disrupted by dizziness and loss of balance regain their independence.
The vestibular system is your balance and motion center. Its primary function is to tell the brain where the head is in space. It also helps to stabilize your vision while your head is moving. Vestibular Rehabilitation Therapy (VRT) is the process of training the vestibular system to work more efficiently to reduce dizziness and improve balance. VRT has been shown to be very effective for many people with dizziness and balance disorders.
Our physical therapists are specially trained to assess how the parts of the human balance system work together to control balance. Based on testing the inner ear, eyes/vision, and joint position sense (proprioception) results, the physical therapist will work with your physician to customize treatment for to help reduce dizziness and improve balance. Sensory tests assess these three systems that contribute to balance control:
• Inner ears
• Joint position sense/Proprioception
Motor tests measure the ability to coordinate voluntary and involuntary movements to maintain balance. Based on these test results, the physical therapist will work with your physician to customize treatment for maximum benefit. An individualized plan of care will be developed with you to help improve balance and reduce the risk of falls.
Your care team at CHI St. Joseph’s Health can offer options such as:
• Vertigo/BPPV Assessments and treatment
• Vestibular goggles
• Fall prevention strategies
Contact us at 218.616.3005 to find out more.
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