Are You at Risk of Sustaining a Fall-Related Injury? Get Back on Your Feet with Physical Therapy
Three out of ten people over the age of 65 falls each year, and every eleven seconds, someone aged 65+ needs to be rushed to hospital because they’ve experienced a fall. It is estimated that every 19 minutes, an older adult dies due to a fall.
According to the CDC, there were over 2.5 million adults who received emergency medical attention for nonfatal injuries in 2013. The leading cause of both nonfatal and fatal injury in older adults is contributed to falls.
Most people don’t think about keeping their balance in shape until it is too late and they suffer a harsh fall. The good news is that most falls can easily be prevented by simply exercising your balance system.
If you’ve recently sustained an injury due to a fall or accident, it’s important to find our Eden Prairie, MN physical therapists as soon as possible. They can help keep you on your feet and protect from future injuries.
It is important to note that you should also contact a physical therapist if you have any of the following symptoms:
- Dizziness or vertigo (“spinning” sensations, even when remaining still)
- Inability to focus or remain alert
- Double vision or tunnel vision
- Nausea or vomiting
- Arm or leg weakness
- Abnormal eye movements
- Difficulty standing up from a seated position or standing for prolonged periods of time
Have you ever been aware of dizziness, imbalance or unsteadiness that makes you feel like you might fall over at any moment? Have you ever fallen before? Do you think that your risk for a fall-related injury might be higher than usual? If so, contact Wellspring Health Center today so we can help you figure out the root of your problem and treat it accordingly.
Am I at risk of falling?
Some people have a higher risk of falling than others. Certain risk factors include:
- Advanced age
- Being female
- Living a sedentary life
- Previous history of falls
- Vertigo or dizziness
- Parkinson’s disease
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Heart disease
- Previous stroke or heart attack
- Arthritis or alternative joint pain
- Problems with vision
- Problems with walking or staying balanced
- Overall poor health
A physical therapist from our Eden Prairie, MN office will take into account your medical history in order to identify the risk factors that might cause you to be prone to fall risk. After this, they will perform a thorough evaluation in order to determine the best treatment plan for you.
How will physical therapy help reduce my fall risk?
According to a recently published systematic review by Cochrane, exercise interventions are shown to be an effective treatment for those at a higher risk of falling. The review comprised of over 100 randomized controlled trials, and the average age of these patients was 76, and 77% female.
The results show that those who participated in exercise interventions had 23% less falls compared to the control group. Fall risk was also reduced at 21-24%, depending on if treatments were done in individual or group settings. The risk of fall-related fractures was decreased by 27% and the number of falls that required medical attention was decreased by 39%.
Concluding statements from the authors demonstrated how overall, “Exercise reduces both the rate of falls…and the number of people experiencing falls.”
At Wellspring Health Center, your initial physical assessment will help us determine what your muscular weakness is. This may include vision tests, thinking tests, resting heart rate checks, active heart rate checks, and evaluations of your gait and range of motion.
Following this evaluation, your physical therapist will design a plan to address your specific needs. The plan is focused on reducing your risk of falling, but will also assist in helping you improve balance and stability. Some common forms of treatment include:
Your physical therapist will want to make sure that your treatment is as comfortable as possible, so you will work together on relieving pain first. You’ll then work on any other forms of physical activity that may bring you discomfort.
Walking and moving programs
Your physical therapist may ask you to walk in a straight line or complete a mini obstacle course to regain your muscle control. This is the last part of your rehabilitation plan, which will help you get back to normal walking and mobility skills.
Lack of stability is one of the main reasons falls occur, so balance is crucial to fall prevention. Our physical therapists will design a balance training plan for you as part of your treatment. They may ask you to perform certain balance-based activities, such as standing on one leg or holding your balance while performing a mentally-stimulating task (reciting the alphabet or reading a page from a book.)
Along with balance training, your physical therapist will work with you to design a strength training program. This will focus on specific groups of muscles to improve standing and walking balance, along with your ability to recover from a loss of balance.
Endurance training is all about working up to more advanced levels of the same form of treatment. Your physical therapist will provide you with an aerobic exercise program and slowly add time to those exercises as your endurance improves. For example, your endurance training may begin at 10-minute sessions and then progress to 30-minute sessions.
Are you ready to get back on your feet by improving your balance and decreasing your risk of sustaining a fall-related injury? Contact Wellspring Health Center at Eden Prairie, MN, to schedule a complimentary consultation and start today!