The potential to develop balance problems and have falls increases as we age. Our balance is controlled by our central and peripheral nervous systems. Our balance is maintained by the integration of several sensori-motor components within the body. In our sensory system, our balance is controlled by eye-brain visual tracking mechanisms and coordination, vestibular, ear-brain coordination, mechano-receptors in the facet joints of the spine and extremity joints, and and cervical spine alignment and posture, proprioception of the feet (our ability to feel our feet), and in our motor system the strength of our core and lower extremity muscles. The efficiencies in one or more of these areas will increase our risk for falls. Falls in the geriatric population can be devastating and life-changing, and even life-ending. We recommend annual screenings for balance after age 80.
Here are some frightening statistics: Fifty percent of geriatric patients that fall and fracture a hip never recover and die within one year. Much of the loss in balance and fragility of the bones is secondary to marked hormonal changes, which can be helped with appropriate nutritional and bio-identical supplementation.The cost of treating head injuries from falls in the geriatric population is in the hundreds of millions of dollars per year. We take these risks very seriously and offer highly effective treatment methods to correct the deficiencies found. Although there are some patients that aren’t able to be rehabilitated, the vast majority of patients with balance problems can be improved.
The increased incidence of neuropathy is causing a greater number of people to be at risk for falls. Lower extremity neuropathy can occur secondary to lumbar spinal stenosis, lumbar radiculopathy secondary to disc problems, diabetes, cholesterol medication, low thyroid function, secondary to chemotherapy,as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies. Vestibular problems can occur following viral or bacterial infections of the inner ear, medication side effects, trauma to the head and neck region, or whiplash type injuries from vehicular crashes or sport injuries. This can cause a condition called vertigo (you feel the room is moving). Chronic illnesses such as diabetes damage the posterior column area of the nervous system and have an adverse effect on balance. The best evaluation tools are videonystagmography coupled with weight bearing balance assessment and sensory/motor examination of the lower extremities. With this information, specific corrective measures can be employed to correct the balance within a few weeks. Our facility is one of a handful of facilities that have such treatment capabilities.
Kelly Miller DC NMD* FASA FBAARM* CFDMP*, physician at Hoffman Clinic for Optimal Health. Call today to see how we can help. (813) 985-1322
.*Currently there is no licensure for Naturopathic Physicians in the state of Florida and the Florida Board of Chiropractic Medicine does not currently recognize the Fellowship in Aging and Regenerative Medicine and Certification in Functional Diagnostic Medicine.