Maintaining your balance

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English: Vrksasana, the tree position, a Yoga ...

English: Vrksasana, the tree position, a Yoga posture. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Is balance an issue for you? You are not alone!

I see many patients with balance problems, and not all of them are using canes, walkers, wheelchairs, crutches, or other aides to keep them upright.  Some of them feel they are moving and balance just fine on their own.  And maybe that’s true.  But I find it much more common that someone creates a way to balance so there is no need to realize that balance is poor.

The leading reasons for poor balance are; hip weakness, poor core stability, ankle instability, and joint hyper/hypomobility.

By keeping the muscles and joints of the low back and lower extremities in good condition with exercise and movement, we can prevent developing balance problems later in life.

Did you know that by moving, you innately need some balance?  Walking and running are basically just alternating balancing on one foot as well as moving forward at the same time.

In order to keep your balance long into life, you can try these exercises to keep you upright.

Here is an exercise to practice your balance:

You can make this harder by adding a pillow under your foot or closing your eyes, or both!!!

This second exercise will strengthen your hips to help your balance:

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The Importance of Good Posture

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Advantage Physical Therapy has two clinics; Mercer Island, WA and Redmond, WA.  Also in these communities are Amazon, Google, Microsoft, AT&T, and T-Mobile.  In this area, a lot of people work in the tech industry and are therefore sitting at a computer for most of the day.  Add to this today’s instant news cycle and we can expect a lot of problems.  Almost everyone I know has a cell phone, tablets are becoming more common, and a majority of people communicate with email at work.

This means a lot of people spend a lot of time with poor posture staring at misaligned screens that might be too small for what they are doing.  They may be squinting to read small writing on the latest iPhone or Android device.  All of this can result in postural deficits.  Anyone with a posture issue may have some of the following issues:

  • Low Back Pain
  • Neck Pain
  • Temporomandibular Dysfunction (Jaw)
  • Tension Headaches
  • Carpal Tunnel Syndrome
  • Illiotibial Band Syndrome
  • Piriformis Syndrome

    POSITION OF SKELETON IN GOOD AND POOR POSTURE ...

    POSITION OF SKELETON IN GOOD AND POOR POSTURE - NARA - 515194 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

With the rising use of mobile devices and computers, it is important to maintain good posture.  As a species, we are not meant to be hunched over a desk.  Follow these tips to help maintain your posture and prevent posture related injuries.

  • Take a break:  Get up from your desk at least one time every hour, even if it is just to get up and get some water.
  • Position your monitor:  The top of your computer monitor should be at eye level when you are sitting up straight.
  • Lumbar support:  Prevent decreased lumbar curvature by adding support in your chair for your low back.
  • Standing work stations:  By standing, we can alleviate some pressure on the spine and increase our posture

It is good to know that your physical therapist can correct most of these problems with some manual therapy, stability and strengthening regimens, and an ergonomic evaluation.