A Balancing Act

A Balancing Act

Chiropractic Beaver Dam WI A Balancing Act

When a baby is wobbly and falls over, it’s cute. When it happens to an older adult it is scary. Babies falling is a natural part of their development, they are learning to balance. Most of the time they are not hurt, and get up and keep going. The same is not true in adults. Head injuries as well as broken bones, bruising and inability to get back up are a few of the serious injuries that can result from adult/senior falls.

Many falls are a result of balance issues. Our body uses our eyes, ears, and feet to create what we call balance, or an ability to remain upright and steady. Our body sends messages to the brain about where we are in the world around us. If any of those messages are not clear, balance issues can result. If you can’t see well, you can bump into objects and trip. The inner ear is responsible for balance, and if it isn’t working properly you can end up with dizziness and vertigo.Your feet tell your body where you are relative to the ground. If you have foot issues such as flat feet, bunions, or neuropathy, it can change the way the brain thinks your body is
positioned on the ground. Some things may be out of your control, but there are many things you can control to help maintain balance. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. See a Chiropractor. Your body and brain have to communicate in order to have good balance, and that starts with the feet. When the bones of the feet don’t align properly, they won’t move properly. If the bones can’t move properly, then the brain can’t tell where your feet are relative to the ground. You may be walking on a flat surface, but your brain thinks you’re walking on boulders. Taking care of the feet will provide a good foundation, but other misalignments can still cause problems. Your body will always strive to keep your eyes level. A low back misalignment can cause a neck problem as your body adjusts to try to keep your eyes level so you can perceive the world and balance correctly. Unbalanced eyes can cause perception problems like bumping into objects or tripping over rugs. A chiropractor helps to gently put all the bones and joints in the body back into proper alignment, allowing the body to have proper function and movement, thereby decreasing the risk of a fall.
  2. Wear Proper Shoes or None At All. Again with the feet? Yes! Obviously shoes such as high heels put stress on the feet, but so do shoes with stiff, firm bottoms. The sole of a shoe should move with the foot and have arch support. When shoe shopping, see if you can bend the shoe in half. If you can, there isn’t enough support in that shoe. If you can barely bend it at all, it is too stiff and won’t allow your foot to have its natural movement. When home, you should always go barefoot. In order to have good balance, our toes need to be able to grip the ground. The more we wear shoes, the less we grip the ground with our toes. We rely on the grip from the shoes to do that job for us. Plus walking barefoot over different floor textures, such as carpet, tile, or wood, in our homes helps to stimulate the nerves on the bottom of our feet. That stimulation causes the nerves to become more sensitive, allowing for better balance. Another way to do this is to sit down with a tennis ball under your foot and roll it back and forth to stimulate the nerves on the bottom of the feet.
  3. Exercise. Now I’m not talking necessarily about building muscle. Don’t get me wrong, that can help, but there are simple exercises that specifically help with balance. Stand near a counter so you have something to grab onto incase you start to lose your balance. Raise one foot slightly off the ground and see if you can stand on one leg without support from the counter. If this is easy, then raise your foot a little higher. If raising your foot slightly off the floor is hard, practice this exercise daily until you are able to raise your foot higher. See how long you can stand on one foot. You should be able to do it for at least 30 seconds. Then move on to complicate this exercise a little further. Once you are able to raise your foot with your hip and knee at 90 degrees, place something unstable under your foot. This can be a pillow or a flat piece of foam. Do not use anything round that can roll out from under you. Continue to raise your foot up till your hip and knee is at 90 degrees and you don’t need to use the counter for support. In our office we have a series of exercises to help improve balance. One is to use a vibration plate to start helping people with their balance. We are able to control how quickly our machine vibrates. The less it vibrates, the easier it is to balance and the quicker it vibrates, the harder it is to balance. Once someone is able to balance on the vibration plate, we add the above exercise with them on the plate to maximize their balance.

Don’t forget the eyes and ears also play a role in helping maintain your balance. If you try the suggestions above and still have balance issues, you should get both the eyes and ears checked out by professionals. No matter where you are at with your ability to balance, you can always improve. Balance is so important for our health, but is easily lost if not practiced on a daily basis. Even if you don’t have balance problems now, you should still continue to work on your balance, flexibility, and mobility to prevent falls as you age.

Yours in Health,

Dr. Stephanie Tyjeski

Dr. Stephanie graduated in December 2016 with her Doctorate in Chiropractic at Logan University. She continued on at Logan University to receive her Masters in Nutrition and Human Performance. She is also certified as a Digestive Health Professional through the Loomis Enzyme Institute. She currently works at Tyjeski Family Chiropractic and Wellness Center.

Join me for my Free Monthly class to help you live your best life. Each class is at 5:30 on the third Tuesday of the month. Feel free to call my office at (920) 885-3020 with questions or to register.

Caring for Me in 2023

January - Nervous System
February - Lymphatic System
March - Skeletal System
April - Cardiovascular System
May - Endocrine System
June - Digestive System
July - Respiratory System
August - Immune System
September - Excretory/Urinary System
October - Reproductive System
November - Integumentary/Exocrine System
December - Muscular System