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Preventing Falls

Each year more than one out of every four adults, over age 65, experiences a fall. About one of every five of those falls results in a serious injury. There are several conditions that predispose seniors to falling. Muscle weakness, especially of the lower body, increase your risk of falling. Balance problems lead to a significant number of falls. Sensory problems, such as numbness of the feet or neuropathy can make you stumble because of decreased proprioception. If we can't get balance cues from our feet and lower extremities, we are more likely to fall. We use our eyes to help aid our balance. If it is dark or our vision is compromised by cataracts, glaucoma, or poor depth perception, we tend to fall more often. Many medications increase our risk of falling. Tranquilizers, antidepressants, sedatives, muscle relaxers and high blood pressure medication increase the risk of falling. 

Dr. Greg L. Crawford D.C. of Foothills Chiropractic offers some recommendations to help prevent falls. Have your eyes checked and ensure the best possible vision correction. Use night lights or keep a light on if you get up at night to use the bathroom. Add grab bars to your shower and toilet area. Remove throw rugs and electrical cords that can cause tripping. Exercise daily and include exercises designed to improve your balance. The stork exercise is a simple and effective balance exercise.  Stand on one foot and see how long you can maintain your balance without having to put the other foot down. If necessary, use your arms to support yourself by holding a counter top or door frame will performing the stork exercise. A research study done on men over 70 years old found that swimming decreased the risk of falling even  better than golf or walking. Dr. Crawford recommends that you see your chiropractor or other  healthcare provider to be evaluated for your risk of falling and to be taught appropriate exercises to help improve your balance and strength to help prevent falls. For more information on the stork balance exercise go to http://www.sportsinjuryclinic.net/rehabilitation-exercises/lower-leg-ankle-exercises/stork-balance 

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