A Health Canada study shows that falls are the leading cause of injury in Canadians. Approximately 63 percent of seniors, 50 percent of adolescents, and 35 percent of working age adults are injured in falls. Of course, there are many considerations at play. The event can be the result of weather (icy sidewalks, etc.), sports, a hazardous workplace environment, simple carelessness, or many other scenarios. But this article is for those of you who are experiencing falls beyond what is considered “reasonable”.
It’s important for you to take stock of the situation. Are you falling in the home, at work, or during activities more than you used to? Do you find yourself on the floor without an obstruction in sight to blame? Then there may be a problem.
Whether due to advanced age or an underlying physical condition, physiotherapy can help keep you on your feet. Let’s find out how.
4 Ways Physiotherapy Can Help Prevent Falls
1. Physiotherapy Can Improve Your Gait
You will hear about Gait quite a bit when reading through our blog. This is because your Gait, the manner of which you walk (and run), is crucial in practically every single day to day activity and athletic endeavor alike. Your Gait may be the reason you are falling. By making the decision to consult with a physiotherapist to address your concerns, you will benefit from a Gait analysis. This will uncover potential faulty foot mechanics, which can lead to a prescription for custom foot orthotics. Orthotics are custom footwear inserts that will effectively address issues with your foot mechanics and lower extremities, and can have a direct and positive impact on fall prevention.
2. Physiotherapy Can Improve Vestibular Function
Your vestibular system is your sensory system. It is the leading contributor to your sense of balance and spatial orientation for the purpose of coordinating optimal movement. Sensory information pertaining to motion, equilibrium, and spatial orientation is supplied by your vestibular apparatus, which in each ear includes the utricle, saccule, and semicircular canals. Both the utricle and saccule detect information in vertical orientation and linear movement. If your vestibular system is damaged, you may experience symptoms such as vertigo and dizziness, both of which are leading contributors to falls. A vestibular disorder can be the result of age, injury, or disease. A physiotherapist who is competent in vestibular rehabilitation will perform a comprehensive assessment to determine the issue, and set a regime of rehabilitation treatments and exercises that could effectively improve your vestibular function, and keep you from falling.
3. Physiotherapy Can Improve Your Core
The core of your body is essentially your torso. Functional movements are highly dependent on your core, and lack of muscular development in this area can result in a predisposition to injury and reduce your ability to maintain balance in both activity and day to day walking. Simply put, a weak core can predispose you to frequent falling. Studies show that an exercise program which incorporates core fitness can assist in fall prevention. A full service physiotherapy clinic with equipment and facilities to accommodate a core fitness program will provide yet another piece of the puzzle to prevent falls.
4. Physiotherapy Can Reduce Overall Risk for Falls
A physiotherapist will work with you to assess your balance, strength and overall risk for a fall. They will create a personalized program of realistic (for you) exercises, and continue to monitor and assess your progress. In addition, a physiotherapist can also help those of you of advanced age or living with a disability assess the need for mobility aids, and where applicable, will help you get accustomed to the device and can even provide you with information about receiving funding, where eligible.
Physiotherapy can help people from all walks of life improve their Gait, vestibular function, core, and overall physical health, all of which will help prevent falls. If you reside in Burnaby, Coquitlam, or anywhere in the Greater Vancouver area, the next step is in your hands – contact Absolute PhysioCare today.