Posts Tagged ‘balance’

Finding Your Balance

MediLodge of Rochester Hills TherapyFrom the MediLodge of Rochester Hills Therapy Department

Have you ever felt dizzy, lightheaded, or as if the room is spinning around you? These can be very troublesome sensations. If the feeling happens often, it could be a sign of a balance problem. Balance problems are among the most common reasons that older adults seek help from a doctor. Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you are moving are remaining still. An intact sense of balance helps you walk without staggering, get up from a chair without falling, climb stairs without tripping, bend over without falling, to name just a few important examples. Good balance is important to help you get around, stay independent, and carry out daily activities.

People are more likely to have problems with balance as they get older. But age is not the only reason these problems occur; there are other causes, too. In some cases, you can help reduce your risk for certain balance problems.

Some balance disorders are caused by problems in the inner ear. The part of the inner ear that is responsible for balance is the labyrinth. When the labyrinth becomes infected or swollen, this condition is called labyrinthitis. It is typically accompanied by vertigo and imbalance. (Vertigo is the feeling that you or the things around you are spinning.) Upper respiratory infections and other viral infections (and less commonly, bacterial infections), can lead to labyrinthitis.

Diseases of the circulatory system, such as stroke, can cause dizziness and other balance problems. Smoking and diabetes can increase the risk of stroke. Low blood pressure can also cause dizziness.

MediLodge Physical TherapyBalance problems can also result from taking certain medications. For example, some medications, such as those that help lower blood pressure, can make a person feel dizzy. Ototoxic drugs are medicines that damage the inner ear. Sometimes the damage lasts only as long as you take the drug; other times it is permanent. Some antibiotics are ototoxic. If your medicine is ototoxic, you may feel off balance. Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication.

Your diet and lifestyle can help you manage certain balance-related problems. For example, Meniere’s disease, which causes vertigo and other balance and hearing problems, is linked to a change in the volume of fluid in the inner ear. By eating low-sodium or salt-free foods, you can make Meniere’s disease symptoms less severe. Balance problems due to high blood pressure can be managed by eating less salt, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising.

The ear infection called otitis media is common in children, but adults can get it too. You can help prevent otitis media by washing your hands frequently. Also, talk to your doctor about getting a yearly flu shot to stave off flu-related ear infections. If you still get an ear infection, see a doctor immediately before it becomes more serious.

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MediLodge of Rochester Hills

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Home Evaluation Key To Successful Return Home For Therapy Patients

by Sandra St. Peter, OTR/L, MediLodge of Yale Therapy Program Manager

MedilodgeofYale LifeTherapists assess an individual’s safety in an environmental aspect when appropriate in their home environment.  Life can bring unexpected changes like broken bones or diagnoses causing decreased balance, strength, coordination and cognition.  Ailments like this can leave residual difficulties, so making sure the individual’s home is set-up in the best way to compensate for the changes can improve the functional outcome and safety.

Simple changes can make a big impact like removing all rugs without a non-skid bottom, putting tennis balls or gliders on the rear legs of a rolling walker and putting up hand rails on stairs going into the home as well as any interior stairs.  Assessing whether the height of the individuals most frequently used area to sit is functional for them to get up and down without losing their balance.

As far as the bathroom environment; grab bars in the shower, a hand-held shower head, learning how to use a tub bench if you have a tub/shower combination and using a toilet riser or bed-side commode over the toilet.  Falls in the bathroom tend to happen at a high rate.  I encourage keeping the bathroom door open while showering to reduce the humidity.  This can attribute to increased shortness of breath and lightheadedness.

In the kitchen, moving frequently used items to the cupboards or counter top that you can reach and rarely used items to the hard to reach areas can reduce falls.  Using an attached walker basket, canvas bag or tray to the walker can help you transport items from one room to another while maintaining both hands on the walker for optimal safety.

Some individuals may benefit from one or two of these ideas.  However, others may need more substantial changes. Therapists want to know our residents are returning to their home environment to improve their quality of life, however doing so in the safest environment for the resident will increase the likelihood of maintaining a lifestyle of health and wellness.

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Let’s Dance! How To Boogie Down While Firming Up!

Firm Up While Having Fun2012 prom

Whether it’s ballroom or swing, Zumba or jazz, dance is helping people of all ages and physical abilities get into shape.  Even those who hate to exercise may enjoy dancing for health and wellness.  It’s great for all ages and can have mental and social benefits as well as physical ones.

Boogie Toward A Healthier You

Similar to brisk walking, cycling or aerobics, dancing represents a weight-bearing activity that can be performed moderately and at low impact levels – making it safe and doable.  Plus it’s fun, often making it an easier exercise for participants to stick with.  Consider the many physical benefits.  Gliding or grooving around the dance floor can help you:

  • Improve you balance and posture, helping to prevent falls
  • Strengthen muscles and bones without harming your joints
  • Increase your flexibility and stamina
  • Reduce tension and stress
  • Lose weight wile toning your entire body

“Dancing works muscle groups in different ways than other forms of exercise,” says Susan Phillips, MPT, a physical therapist at St. John Hospital and Medical Center.  “For example, ballroom dancing often requires moving backward in long sweeping steps.  That gives the backs of the thighs and buttock muscles a great workout.  Dancing also helps to build a strong body core – improving abs and back muscle support.”

Give Your Brain A Workout, TooHowell 2012 Prom 4

In addition to its many physical benefits, dancing is proving to boost brainpower and provide social outlets.  “Exercise increases the level of brain chemicals that promote nerve cell growth,” notes Rosemary Aquilar, MD, an internist at Providence and Providence Park Hospitals.  “Remembering different dance steps and sequences helps you to think on your feet as you maneuver around the dance floor.  It improves your memory skills.”

“A study in the New England Journal of Medicine found that ballroom dancing at least twice a week made people less likely to develop dementia,” Phillips says.

Research has also shown that some people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease can remember forgotten memories when dancing to music they used to know.

Dancing is also a great way to meet other people who also enjoy this fun activity.  As your social circle grows when meeting others who like to dance, new or rekindled friendships may also develop.

Before Hitting The Dance Floor

You don’t need to be a Ginger Rogers or Fred Astaire to enjoy dancing.  But just as with any exercise program, “if you’ve been inactive for some time or have any health issues, it’s a good idea to consult your doctor first,” Dr. Aquiler cautions.

Take Your Pick!

You can find dance classes at many health clubs, community recreation centers or dance schools and studios.  Or try a dance DVD at home.  Here are some of the dances you might want to try:Pat & Matt Prom 2011

  • Ballet
  • Ballroom
  • Belly Dancing
  • Folk Dancing
  • Jazz
  • Line Dancing
  • Modern
  • Salsa
  • Square Dancing
  • Swing
  • Tap
  • Zumba

Did You Know?

A 150-pound adult can burn about 150 calories during 30 minutes of moderate social dancing.

Mark you calendars!  The MediLodge Senior Prom is only a month away!

This article comes from our friends at St. John River District Hospital, neighbors of MediLodge of St. Clair.

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Physical Therapy Exercises for Balance at MediLodge of Taylor

As physical and occupational therapists, we understand that good balance is the foundation for all movement activities as well as functional activities.  In the physical and occupational therapy departments here at MediLodge of Taylor, we strive to maximize a person’s quality of life by focusing on several categories, including strength, posture, mobility, gait and function.  Having good balance is the foundation for each one of these categories.

Taylor Balance

By performing balance exercises, you help to strengthen the appropriate muscles in your lower legs that are needed for movement activities.  Having an aligned center balance point helps the individual to have an upright posture, which reduces friction on the joints, thereby decreasing pain in the joints and surrounding muscles.  Balance training is the key to having good posture.  Equilibrium exercises also help to enhance mobility.  By having a good balanced base of support, the extremities are able to produce force and complete the tasks efficiently.  Furthermore, having to balance is critical for gait.  When we walk, we spend time balancing on one foot during the stance phase of walking.  Consequently, practicing balance exercises for standing on one foot is essential for maintaining stability while walking.

 

Balance training is essential to perform before starting a stretching program.  Stability exercises will help you stay grounded while you reach out to touch your toes or reach back behind you to stretch the back.  Many stretching positions can put you in a position of being off balance.  That is why it is essential to practice equilibrium routines before you start to stretch.

Monroe OT

Finally, having good stability is critical for all functional movements including our activities of daily living.  We all need balance skills for reaching overhead into a cupboard without falling backwards. Additionally, moving from sitting to standing requires stability so that we do not fall forwards when we get up.  Going up and down stairs also requires balance abilities to maintain proper momentum and to keep from tripping and falling.  As physical and occupational therapists, we know that good balance is a foundation required to perform all these movements.

 

In physical and occupational therapy, we apply balance activities to most of the exercises that we have our patients perform.  For example, to increase balance skills, or to build strength and core muscles as well as help those sore shoulder muscles heal, we can add standing on a soft or uneven surface while performing shoulder strengthening exercises.  To help build muscle strength that supports arthritic knees, we often train the hamstring and quadriceps muscles to perform strengthening exercises while on a balance board.  The added challenge of imbalance enhances strength and balance abilities at the same time.  Additionally, in therapy we make sure to challenge our postoperative hip and knee replacement folks with their balance during walking.  We often add obstacles like stepping over cones or on and off different size steps to advance coordination, proprioception and stability.

Montrose Therapy Success small 2012

Who says physical therapy can’t be fun?

April is Occupational Therapy Month.  We would like to acknowledge our Occupational Therapists and recognize the differences they make in our Lodger’s lives:  Julia Gile, Lynaire Days, Mala Sabnas, Stacy Schubert-Winters and Christine Plonka.  THANK YOU!

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Balance Problems? Discovering Symptoms & Solutions with MediLodge

from The Therapy Department

 

Have you ever felt dizzy, light-headed, or as if the room was spinning around you?  These can be very troublesome sensations.  If the feeling happens often, it could be a sign of a balance problem.  Balance problems are among the most common reasons that older adults seek help from a doctor.

Balance Problems

Having good balance means being able to control and maintain your body’s position, whether you are moving are remaining still.  An intact sense of balance helps you walk without staggering, get up from a chair without falling, climb stairs without tripping and bend over without falling, to name just a few important examples.

 

Good balance is important to help you get around, stay independent, and carry out daily activities.  People are more likely to have problems with balance as they get older.  But age is not the only reason these problems occur; there are other causes too.  In some cases, you can help reduce your risk for certain balance problems.

 

Some balance disorders are caused by problems in the inner ear.  The part of the inner ear that is responsible for balance is the labyrinth.  When the labyrinth becomes infected or swollen, this condition is called labyrinthitis.  It is typically accompanied by vertigo and imbalance.  Upper respiratory infections and other viral infections (and less commonly, bacterial infections), can lead to labyrinthitis.

 

Diseases of the circulatory system, such as stroke, can cause dizziness and other balance problems.  Smoking and diabetes can increase the risk of stroke.  Low blood pressure can also cause dizziness.

 

Balance problems can also result from taking certain medications.  For example, some medications, such as those that help lower blood pressure, can make a person feel dizzy.  Ototoxic drugs are medicines that damage the inner ear.  Sometimes the damage lasts only as long as you take the drug; other times it is permanent.  Some antibiotics are ototoxic.  If your medicine is ototoxic, you may feel off balance.  Check with your doctor if you notice a problem while taking a medication.

 

Your diet and lifestyle can help you manage certain balance-related problems.  For example, Meniere’s disease, which causes vertigo and other balance and hearing problems, is linked to a change in the volume of fluid in the inner ear.  By eating low-sodium or salt-free foods, you can make Meniere’s disease symptoms less severe.  Balance problems due to high blood pressure can be managed by eating less salt, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising.

 

The ear infection called otitis media is common in children, but adults can get it too. You can help prevent otitis media by washing your hands frequently. Also, talk to your doctor about getting a yearly flu shot to stave off flu-related ear infections. If you still get an ear infection, see a doctor immediately before it becomes more serious.

 

(Information for this article from NIH Senior Health)

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