Problems with balance can make is difficult for you to maintain a stable and upright position. this can affect you whether you are standing, moving, sitting, and even laying down. This is particularly a problem in the geriatric population. As many as 75% of Americans over the age of 70 show “abnormal” balance. Balance problems can continue to increase by almost 30% in those over 80. If you are an older adult you most likely need to be working on your balance. Physical therapist are movements professionals that have been specifically trained in balance rehabilitation.
Seven common factors that can cause balance problems.
This is particularly true of the core and leg muscles. The stronger your core muscles are the more you will be able to control your center of mass. Being able to control and regain your center of mass is important in maintaining a stable posture.
2. Joint stiffness
When your joints become stiff they also become hard to control. Little losses of balance, especially in ranges that you aren’t used to, become much harder to control.
3. Inner Ear Problems
Several tubes in the inner ear called the vestibular system, help your head and body know where you are in space. The vestibular system provides input to the brain. You can have balance problems when this system is overactive. A common symptom of vestibular dysfunction is dizziness when your head is in a specific position.
4. Certain Medications (such as those prescribed for depression and high blood pressure)
Medications that effect blood flow and blood distribution can cause imbalances. You have probably experience a time when you stood up too quickly and became dizzy. This is because as you stood up not enough blood was able to overcome gravity and make it into your brain. Medications can exaggerate this same phenomenon.
5. Lack of Activity or a Sedentary Lifestyle
It is hard to get strong and be generally healthy when you are not moving. Sedentary lifestyle is defined in medical literature as sitting for 6+ hours a day. A question you should ask yourself often is ” Can I do what I am doing without sitting?”.
6. Simple Aging
It should come as no surprise that as you age your body does not function at the level it once did. Due to years of use your body just doesn’t act the same at 70 as it did when you were 30.
7. Poor Body Awareness
As we age we depend more and more on our vision for balance. This makes you rely less and less on the many sensory organs throughout your body. As the saying goes use it or lose it, if you are not using your sensory systems they will not work well.