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Balance Awareness Week 2017

September 18-24 is Balance Awareness Week!

Balance is something that most people take for granted. It is our constant companion working in the background as we go through our day.  We don’t think about it until something goes wrong!!!  

Try our Balance Awareness Week Challenge to understand how many people with imbalance or dizziness feel everyday.

Imagine if that was the imbalance that you felt while you brushed your teeth, walked down the street, or sat in class trying to learn.

In our inner ears lives a powerful system that connects to our brains and contributes to our sense of balance and our ability to see clearly as we walk around.  This is called the vestibular system.  Vestibular problems can cause vertigo, dizziness and  balance problems.  If we have a problem with our balance, everything else is affected!  Learning, attention, and independence is all impacted by our sense of balance.

Learn more about the Sense of Balance and the sensational team that contributes! 

The good news is that we can improve our balance and decrease dizziness no matter if we’re 5 or 105! Your local physical therapist can help! To learn more about dizziness, check out this amazing resource.

Try one of these series of exercise progression. Start out with the basic exercises and move on from there. Initially, do the standing exercises in the corner of the room or put one hand on a counter top. Once they become easy, try one of these progressions: close your eyes, count by 7’s or list towns in your state.  By taking away vision and adding in a cognitive task, you can really put your balance to the test!

SITTING BALANCE SERIES

 

STANDING BALANCE SERIES

 

DYNAMIC BALANCE

 

 

It’s Balance Awareness Week!

 

balanceThis week is Balance Awareness Week! Balance can be affected by many different sensory and motor systems and they all need to work together and team up for us to keep our balance during life’s everyday challenges.

Here’s an introduction to our Sense of Balance.

Our vestibular system describes our balance system house in our inner ears. It becomes active before we our born, is tested out and activated by children as they roll and spin throughout childhood, and becomes more sensitive (no more spinning amusement rides!) as we age.

Here’s some more information about when things go wrong in this system in children.

Our somatosensory system is another big member of the balance team. This system includes touch (think toes in the sand) and also proprioceptive information, which travels from muscles and joints to the brain to tell us where we are in space. Here’s a vestibular patient and OT’s blog post talking about proprioception Here’s another great post on proprioception, which (yay!) includes the importance of alignment in core activation (more important than strength!).

Our third important sensory system of the balance team is vision. Children rely on vision as #1 of the sensory team for balance. As children get older, they must learn to integrate the three systems.

During a physical therapy evaluation, the different sensory and motor systems and how they are working together are assessed. Common problem areas are:
-Postural asymmetries and poor alignment affecting PROPRIOCEPTION
-Decreased VESTIBULAR activation
-Decreased functional VISION skills
-Decreased ability to combine postural control with these sensory systems to work automatically without effort

Call us to arrange a screening and learn how to improve your child’s balance skills within minutes!

My Child Keeps Falling Out of His Chair!

A quick and dirty test to rule out a commonly missed cause and how to fix it.

Many parents and teachers complain of children with developmental, learning, and coordination challenges falling out of their chairs. They will see this during class instruction and during homework time. Read more

Part 3: Vestibular Rehab for Children

This is the third part of The Balance Series. In the first part we reviewed the components of balance. In the second part we discussed the various vestibular dysfunctions that can occur in children. In this last article we will look at the different components of treatment. Read more

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Part 2: Childhood Vestibular Disorders

As discussed in The Sense of Balance there is an important sense that may not be part of our daily consciousness, but is integral to everything we do. The vestibular system plays a role in posture, balance and vision. Read more

Part 1: The Sense of Balance

We all learn about our 5 senses as children: smell, touch, see, hear and taste. Our sensory systems are so important to how we experience each day. We smell the delicious food that is cooking, hear the sizzle from the pan and can’t wait to get a taste. Our sensory systems also underlie our attention, focus and motor control. An important sense that may not be part of our daily consciousness, but is integral to our ability to move, play and learn, is our sense of balance.
Read more