Maintaining your balance

Leave a comment

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:


Low Back Pain Statistics


Many of my friends and family, and even myself, have experienced some sort of low back pain.  As a PT, they all ask me “What can you do to fix my back?”  This is always a tough question.  Sure, there are some exercises that will usually help the majority of the population, but each back issue has a root cause that needs to be addressed.  Finding the cause of the back pain by using a thorough history and examination is how physical therapists can design a treatment plan for each INDIVIDUAL.

The vertebral column - Anatomy Français : La c...

The vertebral column - Anatomy Français : La colonne vertébrale - Anatomie (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Earlier this year, the American Physical Therapy Association (APTA) performed a survey about low back pain.  The results of this survey were very telling.  Here are a few of the key points:

  • 61% of Americans experience some form of low back pain
  • 69% of people with low back pain say it affects some part of their lives (exercise, sleep, and work lead these answers)
  • Men are more likely than women to say back pain affects their ability to work
  • 72% of people with back pain use pain medication to relieve symptoms
  • 55% of low back pain sufferers use heat and/or cold packs for relief

If you are interested in looking more into these numbers from the survey, here is an infographic produced from the APTA

You may or may not know, that most states allow you to see a physical therapist without a prescription.  In Washington State, most insurance companies do allow for and cover direct access to physical therapy services.  Physical therapy can provide exercises for both increased range of motion and spinal stabilization, manual therapy to increase joint mobility and release soft tissue tightness, electric stimulation to help with the pain, ultrasound to help with inflammation, and ice or heat to help treat your symptoms.

It is IMPORTANT to note that proper exercises and stretching can help to prevent lower back pain.  We at Advantage Physical Therapy are always happy to help diagnose and treat your back problems.

Preparing for the Links


Grand Cayman Golf

Grand Cayman Golf (Photo credit: Fevi Yu)

The sun is out in the Greater Seattle Area.  To me, that means time outside; swimming, barbeques, softball, and golf.  For many of us, we haven’t swung a club in 9 months, but the sun will bring us to a golf course.  We want to be careful not to get injured our first time out.  There are many planes of movement the body goes through in order to play golf.To begin the season, it is good idea to head to the driving range and practice your stroke.  The movements involved in the swing of a golf club include rotation of the torso and the transfer of weight to the front foot.  Both of these require good flexibility and balance.  In order to increase your ability in both of these areas, it is important to strengthen the core and the hips.  Here are some good exercises to help you strengthen both.


Trunk Rotation on Floor

Trunk Rotation on Ball


Hopefully mastering these exercises will help you stay healthy for the golf season.  Physical Therapy can be used for preventative measures as well.  We at Advantage Physical Therapy in Redmond, WA and Mercer Island, WA have an expert staff that can help you with an exercise program to get you on the golf course before the season begins, or after an injury arises.  Please give us a call to schedule an appointment. 425-883-9630 (Redmond, WA), 425-883-9631 (Mercer Island, WA)