There are many reasons why people may fall or lose balance. These may include slips and trips, inner ear disturbances, neurological disorders, muscle weakness, loss of joint range of movement, difficulty to multi-task, visual difficulties, and changes to sensation. There may also be environmental factors contributing to falls such as uneven flooring, lighting, lack of supportive equipment or walking aids.
Aside from the physical impact after a fall, the psychological impact of a fall can become a greater risk factor of future falls. Having just one fall can be stressful and traumatic. This can lead to a loss of confidence which often results in a person choosing to be less mobile and active to avoid the risk of falling.
When you are less active, muscles become weaker, joints become stiffer and balance can deteriorate, increasing the risk of future falls.
Physiotherapy, Occupational Therapy and Balance Training can break this cycle, and also help to identify and reduce the root cause of the fall both physically and environmentally.
We would always recommend a medical assessment prior to starting a rehabilitation programme to identify any medical cause for a fall and/or loss of balance.
Following assessment of your muscle strength, joint range of movement and function, we can provide an individualised programme that not only builds muscle strength and improves flexibility, but also builds bone strength and density. Both muscle strength and increased bone density can reduce the risk of injury if you do fall.
You may benefit from accessing our PFit service or as exercising as part of an online Neurofit group.
Balance Training- having assessed your balance, we will identify key factors that will form the basis of your balance training, often alongside the strength training programme. This may include vestibular rehabilitation and use of the Alter G and the Lite Gait to challenge balance in a de-weighted and supported environment.
Coping strategies – We can plan and discuss and practice what to do if you were to fall. These may include techniques to safely get up from the floor and how to stay safe whilst waiting for help.
Occupational Therapy – Our Occupational Therapist would be able to assess the home environment to ensure the risk of falls is reduced and identify any adaptations around the home environment such as rails and ramps which may help your mobility.
Review of walking aids
Our experienced therapists will be able to advise on assisted equipment to aid your walking such as modifications to your current walking aid or exploring other mobility options that may be more suitable.
Everyone is more at risk of a fall as they age but there are several other risk factors. We cannot change our biological age but understanding what puts us at risk can help significantly. It is a known fact that if you have fallen before your risk is increased. It is worth taking a look at the checklist to see how many risk factors you tick.
Falls risk checklist