A few wrinkles and gray hair may frustrate you as you get older; however, they're nothing like having to deal with the more frightening problem of lost balance. When you don't have the confidence to keep moving, not only do you feel much older, you age more quickly, too, not to mention the hazardous possibilities of slips and falls. One positive and effective means of regaining the ability to hold your ground is through the help of a physical therapist (PT).
1. They'll Guide You In Safely Strengthening Important Muscles
Your spine and posture play a major role in your ability to balance, both of which a PT can aid you in improving. Additionally, the muscles required for greater balance, such as your abs and psoas (the main flexor in your hip), need to be in good form. You may be caught in a catch-22 where your muscles need strengthening, but your balance won't permit you to work them without compromising your safety.
There are numerous exercises a physical therapist can assist you in doing, both short and long-term, that will build the more robust body needed to keep you steady on your feet. These programs are highly specified to an individual patient and not something you can plan or execute on your own, especially since safety is an issue.
2. A PT Can Actually Help Sharpen Your Mental Reflexes
Believe it or not, a lot goes on in your brain and with your body when balance is needed, such as the spatial orientation processed by your optical nerves and the coordination involved with putting one foot in front of the other, particularly when traversing stairs or obstacles. Light passes through your retina, where it's greeted by neurochemicals that translate the light into usable signals by the brain, all while your feet, legs and arms attempt to maneuver accordingly. With the passage of time, all these signals and impulses can slow down, thus, impeding your ability to move smoothly and safely.
A therapist can work to basically re-train your brain and body, as much as is possible, to restore some of the lost balance that ensues.
3. A Therapist Can Provide Access To Needed Mobility-Assist Devices
If, after spending some quality time with your physical therapist, you're still not as steady on your feet as you'd both like, the therapist can recommend very specific tools for safe ambulation. From a reach-extender, which allows you to access something too high or low for safe grasping, to a walker or cane, any such device should be prescribed to you by a medical professional; one who knows your physical state and how equipment can make life easier and safer for you.
Another benefit of working with a physical therapist is the positive, upbeat manner in which they'll interact with you. They've gone into this profession because they enjoy being around people and want to help them. Take advantage of everything a PT can offer, including the extra boost of comfort confidence you feel, after each and every session.