Fall Prevention Solutions
Falls are NEVER normal at ANY age
- 1/3 of adults 65 and older fall each year.
- 1 out of 5 falls results in serious injury (e.g. head trauma, fracture).
- About 1/3 of those who fall fear future falls, causing a limitation in activity, which in turn actually increases the risk of falling.
- A senior citizen dies every 29 minutes from a fall.
Falls present a significant risk to patients and pose a significant financial burden. Physical therapy can decrease those risks while providing cost-efficient treatment.
A meta-analysis and systematic review published in the British Medical Journal, reviewing results of 17 trials involving 4,305 patients aged 60 and older living in community dwellings revealed that physical therapy can:
- Lessen the rate of falls
- Reduce the severity of injury when falls do occur
- Improve balance
- Improve cognitive functioning
- Increase speed and effectiveness of protective reflexes
- Diminish force of impact on the body by increasing energy absorbing capacity of soft tissues (such as the muscles)
Balance — Don’t Use It, You LOSE It!
But it can return quickly with PT and PRACTICE.
Risk Factors for Falling that can be Modified with PT
- Lower Body Weakness
- Joint Mobility Impairments
- Antalgic gait: slow gait speed, decreased step length, increased step width, and step variability.
- Foot Abnormalities
- Inadequate or improper footwear
- Home Hazards
- Fear of Falling
- Proper use of assistive device
- Balance Difficulties
- Postural Dizziness
- Vestibular Issues
- Kinesthetic awareness problems.
- Muscle coordination & firing
Physical Therapy Treatment
Patients will undergo an initial evaluation utilizing several tests to assess impairments and risk factors for falling. Treatment will address any identified modifiable risk factors, including exercises to increase strength and improve balance. Exercise intervention has a positive preventative effect on falls that result in injury as well as falls that lead to more extensive medical care.
Patients will be instructed in exercises that are safe for them to complete independently. Balance exercises can be performed at all levels and be progressed from sitting, to kneeling, to standing once performed safely. Recognizing risks for falling will enable patients to improve their home safety. We will also ensure that the patient is able to get up from the floor if a fall happens to occur.
We will assist the patient in fear management to reduce the fear of falling. Once an individual experiences a fall, his/her standing activity levels decrease secondary to fear of falling again. Fear of falling creates a downward spiral of less and less activity. Identifying reasons for decreased activity levels will enable us to initiate goals for increasing physical activity for overall health improvement and confidence.
The patient will responsible for a home exercise program. With diligent practice, the patient can expect neurological improvements in 2 weeks. To achieve lasting results, the patient will need to stay compliant with a home exercise program for 10 weeks. At Pain & Movement Solutions we work with the patient, other health care professionals, and community services to create individualized programs for people to be successful with their rehab. For example, many individuals are progressed to a personalized program to complete at the community recreation center or their favorite gym, where we have close working relationships with many of the personal trainers.
Call today to improve your balance lower your risk of falls!