Apr

27

Over the past several months, we have been discussing imbalance, dizziness, vertigo, disequilibrium, etc., how to find out if you are at risk, etc.  We know that as part of the natural aging process individuals will become more prone to imbalance associated with changes in the spinal joints from degenerative joint disease, and the disturbances in the ocular reflexes which are preprogrammed to the spinal movements.  These disturbances can also lead to anxiety, changes in respiratory dynamics and changes in the digestive system as these systems are all hard wired and linked together, thus changes in one system affect the others systems as well.  Changes in breathing dynamics alone are probably responsible for half of the dizziness in society.  These changes not only create anxiety and panic disorder, but will eventually lead to a permanent change in your systemic pH, which can lead to all sorts of problems.

The good news is that these disturbances are not only reversible, but are actually quite easy to fix.  Inappropriate ocular reflexes are corrected through appropriate eye exercises, which are orchestrated to strengthen the specific ocular weaknesses, which need to be addressed.  This alone typically improves imbalance and disequilibrium immediately.  Breathing dynamics can easily be corrected by increasing rib excursion and thus increasing lung vital capacity.  This will immediately reverse aberrant changes in systemic pH, any panic disorder induced from such, gastric problems, which may be associated, etc.

Inasmuch as these problems are quite reversible and easily fixed, it is certainly with an understanding that treatment is provided under the guidance of a health care provider adequately trained in treating problems associated with imbalance and postural and gait abnormalities.

It is unfortunate that the vast majority of balance problems go unnoticed and untreated when they are easiest to correct, as most individuals don’t appreciate that they even have a problem because they do not take the time to get screened.  Society has been trained over time to obtain routine blood work, and other “routine” and “preventative” screening procedures, because we know that if we do not have them, we may miss something that would have been easy to fix had it been diagnosed early on but was ignored because no screening was ever done. Balance screening is no exception to this.  Simply put, the longer you wait, the longer it will take to fix, and the more likely you will incur a fall and thus have a serious injury to overcome. I have mentioned several times in my column that you cannot tell if your balance is impaired without screening.  If you can tell, it is only because it has already gotten so severe that it becomes apparent just standing or while walking about. If this is the case, not doing anything about it is like being diabetic and not taking your medication and not changing your diet.  It will just be a matter of time

Apr

5

Falls actually occur for many reasons. Falls occur simply out of shear accident. You slide on something slippery, you are knocked over by something, etc. When you fall because you lost your balance, this is more concerning as it alludes to the fact that there is more going on, i.e., a problem. There are many medical conditions which contribute to fall risk. Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, diabetes, cardiac problems to name a few. In the absence of disease, fall risk occurs as an affect of normal aging. This is insidious, and most do not perceive that their balance is poor until put to the test, at which point they fall. Some who fall will be fortunate and get a second chance to treat their poor balance, others nay not be so fortunate and suffer grave injuries that may even be fatal. As human’s age, the spine tends to degenerate as part of the normal again process. Because of this degenerative process, the proprioceptive systems that send information to the areas of your brain that regulate balance, tend to diminish over time, so that you have less proprioceptive information reaching the balance centers of the brain. When this happens, first off, you are at increased risk of fall. Now, amplify the situation by adding poor vision, or, being in a situation that requires good balance, like at night when it is dark, or being in a dark room. Consequential balance loss will be amplified. As these two systems fail, which is markedly common in the elderly, increased reliance on the vestibular labyrinthine system becomes necessitated. If there is any problem with this system whatsoever, a fall is imminent. We can easily check these three postural systems in our office, in fact, we do it free as a community service. Falls are endemic and a leading cause of accidental injury and accidental death. For this reason, we urge all individuals, especially those over 60 years of age, to be tested. If you think your balance is fine because you have not yet fallen, you are simply lucky. The simple fact is that you only know your balance is good if it has been tested and you pass your test. If you already know that you have poor balance, or, you have a history of falling, do yourself a huge favor and take advantage of our offer to test you for free. It will change the course of your life.