Gait and Balance Training
The objective of Physical and Occupational Therapy is to restore lost or restricted range of motion, muscle strength, balance, muscle endurance and function that may be compromised due to surgery, injury or disease.
Balance Disorders are very common in today’s population, especially among the aging . Physical therapy can be a major tool to help reduce symptoms and restore functional balance in individuals with vestibular problems.
Common Vestibular Disorders that yield loss of balance are:
- Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo (BPPV)
- Cervicogenic dizziness
- Labyrinthitis and vestibular neuritis
- Ménière’s disease
- Migraine associated vertigo (MAV)
Not all balance disorders are related to inner ear problems. They can result from a variety of conditions. Some of which include:
- Spinal Stenosis
- Neuropathy in legs and feet
- Vison problems
- Neuro-Muscular disorders
- Weakness following surgery
- Post concussion Syndrome
Maintaining Balance depends on a combination of systems receiving information, processing that information, integrating it and producing a motor outcome that is functional.
Gait & Balance Training refers to rehabilitative techniques to help you stand, walk better and perform dynamic activities in standing while minimizing and preventing falls. This is commonly used for people who’ve had surgery, neuropathy and those suffering from vestibular disorders. The objective of vestibular therapy is to strengthen the above systems affected and increase their efficiency.
During your first visit with Axiom, we will work with your medical diagnosis as well as go through a full assessment to determine any secondary and tertiary factors contributing to your symptoms.
What we look at:
- Vestibular input
- Sensory Integration
- Sensory Processing
- Motor Output
Primary techniques used by our therapists:
Neuromuscular Retraining is a specific type of rehabilitation meant to restore appropriate neural output to specific muscle groups that are needed for normal function. This type of therapy helps with strengthening/stabilizing weak muscles, as well as, restoring normal timing of contractions during functional activities. It’s focus is to work in tandem with the sensory system, proprioception system and musculo-skeletal system to produce normal coordination of movement patterns that yield safe and functional results. We also use NMR to strengthen previous learned movement patterns and/or create new motor patterns or new motor ‘loops’ . For example. When one may trip in the street, there is an automatic recovery process that is almost reflexive. This is a learned motor pattern in response to an action. If these responses become labored or lost, we will work to restore and strengthen them . In some instances we will work to produce new ones in response to the same or similar actions.
Therapeutic Exercise refers to a wide range of physical activities that focuses on restoring and maintaining strength, endurance, flexibility, core stability, and balance. The goal of therapeutic exercises is to compliment the Neuromuscular training and enhance the individuals ability to perform dynamic activities safely.
Manual Therapy refers to a variety of hands on rehabilitative techniques used by our therapists, which include but are not limited to, soft tissue massage, myofascial release, Craniosacral therapy, Joint Mobilization/Manipulation, Trigger Point Therapy, Neural Mobilization, passive range of motion and Neuromuscular Re-education.
Sports Taping and Kinesiotaping are commonly used to help patients return to an activity or sport while minimizing harm to an injured area.
Traction or Spinal Decompression is often used with patients whose primary complaints are radiating arm or leg pains, numbness and/or tingling. Traction is very useful with disc issues, as well as, any type of spinal compression.
Modalities are adjuncts to therapy that may assist you in controlling pain, swelling, inflammation, and aid in tissue healing. Types of modalities we use are: ultrasound, electric stimulation, ice compression, cold laser, anodyne infrared therapy, paraffin, moist heat and cryotherapy.
What to know
A balance disorder is a condition that makes you feel unsteady or dizzy, as if you are moving, spinning, or floating, even though you are standing still or lying down. Balance disorders can be caused by certain health conditions, medications and/or a problem in the inner ear or the brain. Other causes can be viral or bacterial infections in the ear, a head injury, or blood circulation disorders.
Our vestibular system works with other sensory and motor systems in the body, such as our visual system and skeletal system. Together they check and maintain the position of our body at rest or in motion. It also helps us maintain a steady focus on objects even as our body changes position.
Symptoms of a balance disorder:
If your balance is impaired, you may feel as if the room is spinning. You may stagger when you try to walk or teeter or fall when you try to stand up.
Some of the symptoms you might experience are:
- Dizziness or vertigo (a spinning sensation)
- Falling or feeling as if you are going to fall
- Lightheadedness, faintness or a floating sensation
- Blurred vision
- Confusion or disorientation
Other symptoms are nausea and vomiting, diarrhea, changes in heart rate and blood pressure, fear, anxiety or panic. Some people also feel tired, depressed or unable to concentrate. Symptoms may come and go over short time periods or last for longer periods of time.
In PT/OT we combine neuromuscular training, sensory training, proprioceptive input and mechanical training to help correct deficits within the vestibular system.