Regional PT How to Prevent Injuries

HOW TO PREVENT INJURIES BY IMPROVING YOUR BALANCE “Is Your Bad Balance Putting You In Danger?”

How well can you balance on one leg for 10 seconds? If you can’t, then it’s time to look closer at how your balance changes are affecting your body. Have you noticed you are tripping more, or having to fumble and reach for the walls at night? Do you ever feel a little unsteady on your feet, or find yourself shuffling? Does your back start to ache after standing for 10 minutes? These are all indicators of your balance reflexes starting to slow. Balance is a big deal in our everyday world, but we take it for granted. Just think how long it took you to master walking, running, and jumping as a child. Your balance system is incredibly complex, and allows you to walk around over steps, and obstacles without thinking. However, when your balance reflexes start to slow, it can set you up for a bad fall. Often, you realize your balance is bad when it is too late, and a fall has already happened. Many people feel the symptoms of their balance reflexes changing in their late 30’s, when they begin to have backache after standing for a long time. Your balance plays a critical role in the health of your spine, supporting your low and upper back. Given that back injuries bring interrupted sleep, additional aches and pains, and countless absences from work, most people would appreciate knowing a few strategies for avoiding such an outcome. Read on inside for some great tips on improving your balance and back health. Being able to balance well can significantly reduce the number of back and lower extremity injuries. Consider this: Your body is far more able to handle unexpected changes, and uneven ground if you have a good sense of balance. Being able to do so results in far fewer falls, which are the number one cause of back injuries. In addition, better balance allows your ankle, knee and hip joints to function better, without as much strain that can cause abnormal wear and tear. (Continued inside)

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HOW TO PREVENT INJURIES BY IMPROVING YOUR BALANCE

Activities to Improve Your Balance You can benefit from better coordination and balance activities at any age. A stronger, more balanced body relieves aches and pains, while improving your ability to move faster... Here are some activities to improve your balance: 1. Standing glut set - Stand with feet hip width apart and knees slightly bent. Squeeze buttocks together gently, knees should turn out a little. Do not squeeze so hard that you tilt your pelvis. Hold for 10 seconds, 10 times. • Progression - Repeat this exercise standing on one leg. This exercise should be done near a counter or in a doorway for support as needed. Balance for as long as you can up to 1 minute 3 times on each leg.

(Continued from outside) The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports, “in 2000, falls among older adults cost the U.S. healthcare system over $19 billion or $30 billion in 2010. With the population aging, both the number of falls and the costs to treat fall injuries are likely to increase.” Additionally, by increasing muscle stability and coordination, your spine will have greater support and guidance, thereby reducing strain. In turn, your back is able to function appropriately without irritation and inflammation. Protect yourself from injuries by improving your balance and strength. It doesn’t matter how old you are, everyone can benefit from stronger balance reflexes, just ask top athletes. Isn’t it time you handled your balance, before it becomes a bigger problem?

“My ACL recovery had been progressing at another PT facility but had stopped progressing in more improvements. Here, within 2 weeks my quad strength had improved and also the tightness within my knee. Also, my quad had increased in size. That has been very exciting to see the improvements in such a quick turn around. I am excited to continue to see more growth and healing in my ACL recovery to get this lifetime skier back on the mountain slopes where she belongs. Thank You.” -T.H.

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2. Single leg stance - Stand on one leg with knee slightly bent. Make sure your hips remain even. This exercise should be done near a counter or in a doorway for support. Balance for up to 1 minute using assistance as needed, repeat 3 times on each leg. • Progression - Repeat single leg stance standing on a pillow or cushion to increase difficulty. Visit a Physical Therapist: Physical therapy is very important to strengthening joints and learning the right exercises to improve balance. A professional can help you develop a program that plays into your strengths while increasing your ability to balance and reduce back injuries.

Exercise Essential TANDEM WALK - WALL Stand with the fingertips of one, or both, hands resting on a wall. Place the feet ‘heel to toe’ with the left foot forward. Steady yourself in this position. Step forward with the right foot, placing the heel directly in front of, and touching, the toes of the left foot. Step forward with the left foot, placing the heel directly in front of, and touching, the toes of the right foot. Repeat this sequence, moving forward down the hallway. Reverse direction, moving backward down the hallway. Repeat 3 times.

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