Balance and Stability
Balance is a prerequisite for all functional activities and depends on the integrity of the central nervous system. Dr. Roger Sperry, Nobel Prize recipient for neurology, discovered that 90 % of the activation to the brain comes from movement of the spine. Thus, 90% of the function of the nervous system is dedicated to help maintain your balance against gravity. It only makes sense to test this major system that drives your brain activity.
Why get your balance measured?
Balance is a great indicator of brain function and can be improved easily with daily exercises. Our 5 minute exam will indicate what stability program would best improve your imbalance.
Findings show increases in postural sway are thought to indicate an impairment of postural control and are associated with increased fall rates. Influence of fatigue time and level on increases in postural sway, Ergonomics Vol. 49, No. 15, 15 December 2006, 16391648
We measure your postural sway using a state-of-the-art force plate and innovative software.
Falls are the leading cause of death due to injury among the elderly and 87% of all fractures in the elderly are due to falls. About one third of the population over the age of 65 fall each year, and the risk of falls increases proportionately with age, up to one half by the age of 80 years. Falls are the most common cause of traumatic brain injuries (TBI) and are the 4th leading cause of death today. Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
Two thirds of those who fall will do so again within six months. One fourth of seniors who fracture a hip from a fall will die within six months of the injury. The most profound effect of falling is the loss of functioning associated with independent living.
What is Balance based on?
Balance is achieved and maintained by a complex set of sensorimotor control systems that include sensory input from vision (sight), proprioception (touch), and the vestibular system (motion, equilibrium, spatial orientation); integration of that sensory input; and motor output to the eye and body muscles.
Integration of sensory input
Balance information provided by the peripheral sensory organseyes, muscles and joints, and the two sides of the vestibular systemis sent to the brain stem. Here, it is sorted out and integrated with learned information contributed by the cerebellum (the coordination center of the brain) and the cerebral cortex (the thinking and memory center).
Balance is a very important aspect of concussion and post-concussive syndrome. We believe its overlooked to a great degree. The major point to remember, though, is that you may do well on cognitive tests and still have difficulties with balance. Thats one reason why we believe that you should not rely on cognitive tests alone to determine your recovery from a concussion. Balance deficits after sports-related concussion in individuals reporting posttraumatic headache. Neurosurgery. 2008 Jul;63(1):76-80;
How we measure Balance and Stability
We use the Balance Plate by Bertec to measure balance and stability.
The Bertec balance plate is the most advanced in its field. With over 60,000 sensors, we will have a true understanding of your stability. Human stability relies on a complex control system and the Bertec balance plates are essential to capture minute shifts for accurate and objective measurements. Bertecs 3-component balance plates measure vertical force and the Center of Pressure (CoP).
The BalanceCheck Screener determines if your balance problem is visual, vestibular or proprioceptive. The BalanceCheck software quickly assess the patients abilities to maintain balance while standing and then tracks your progress throughout your care program. Training rehabilitation protocols lay a consistent path for balance improvement with customizable balance challenges that are progressive and specific to your weakness.
5 Tests for a Baseline Score
1. Limits of Stability reveals the maximum Range of Motion before losing balance.
2. Eyes open on a stable surface
3. Eyes closed on a stable surface
4. Eyes open on a labile surface
5. Eyes closed on a labile surface
The Stability Score is matched to your age.
This sample indicates weak balance when standing with eyes closed. This indicates a dependence on the visual system for balance.
Training with eyes closed will improve scores and Betty will now start a program to improve her proprioception.
Reasons to get measured:
Brain Health - Checking your stability is part of all our brain-based assessments. A weak balance system can reveal brain imbalances and therefore becomes an important tool to understand your brain health.
Athletic - Great balance is a requirement for all athletes. If you are looking to excel at your sport, then knowing your stability score and which areas are weakest will help you to achieve greater potential. We will work with your current coaches to create a balance program specific to your needs and sport.
Runners - Looking to run your first marathon? Or are you a regular runner that has been plagued with past injuries? Whatever kind of runner you are its important to run balanced. That starts with an assessment of your balance system and finding out where you hold your weight and how stable you are.
Golfers - Improve your stability and you will improve your game. From the weight transfer of a full swing on a drive or club, to the stillness required when putting, stability is a requirement. Get assessed and know your stability score. We will then create a program to improve your stability which will help you on the course.
Post-Concussion Syndrome (PCS) - Balance is a very important aspect of concussion and PCS, and its overlooked to a great degree. The major point to remember, though, is that you may do well on cognitive tests and still have difficulties with balance. Thats one reason why you should not rely on cognitive tests alone to determine recovery from a concussion. Balance deficits after sports-related concussion in individuals reporting posttraumatic headache. Neurosurgery. 2008 Jul;63(1):76-80. Because much of PCS is unknown and subjective, its great to have a test that is an accurate picture of your brain health.
Vertigo - If you are suffering from vertigo, then the first step to improving your condition is to get tested. We will test your current balance and then assess the cause. Please call and mention that you are suffering from vertigo.
Past fall - With 50% of people who fall having a second fall, its important to get in a fall prevention program today. We will carefully assess and determine your stability baseline. Your program will consist of therapy and exercise that target the balance centers in your body.
Prevention - Young or old, its always beneficial to know your stability score. Your stability score is compared to your age and will connect you to how well you are doing as well as the likeliness of an injury in the future.
Co-ordination - Because so many activities rely on balance (ie. golf, dancing, even learning a new task) its important to include stability and balance work. Getting measured will help you focus on your weakest areas, which will make an impact on all your other activities that you love.
Learning difficulties - The balance system is an excellent way to stimulate and improve brain function. When you improve balance you necessarily improve brain health. This allows for greater neuroplasticity and improved learning capacity.
Concern - The balance test takes minutes, and is non-invasive. Why not get checked.
What can Vita do?
Brain and Balance Program
Your program starts with our complete brain based assessment as well as an inclusive balance assessment. The program will be similar to our brain balancing program with the added focus of improving your stability and balance. This includes daily exercises that you must do to achieve results.
Falls Prevention Program
Our simple program consists of a balance evaluation followed by specific exercises to improve your weakest stability scores. Every 12 weeks you will be re-checked using our stability equipment which will give you a new stability score. You do the work and your stability improves.
Balance Questions to ask?
Ask yourself the following questions for a Balance issue.
- Do you feel unsteady?
- Do you feel as if the room is spinning around you?
- Do you feel as if you are moving when you know you are sitting or standing still?
- Do you lose your balance and fall?
- Do you feel as if you are falling?
- Do you feel lightheaded or as if you might faint?
- Do you have blurred vision?
- Do you ever feel disorientedlosing your sense of time or location?
- When you walk do you ever feel like people are bumping into you?
- Do you bump into things?
- The best way you can describe your dizziness or balance problem is:
- How often do you feel dizzy or have trouble keeping your balance?
- Have you ever fallen? When did you fall? Where did you fall? Under what conditions did you fall? How often have you fallen?