Balance
and
Fall Risk Reduction
  Jerry Fisher - Physical Therapist
I put
The Patient
in the center of the way I practice my rehabilitation skills.
Human Balance is defined in the Merriam-Webster Dictionary as:
1) the state of having your weight spread equally so that you do not fall
2) the ability to move or to remain in a position without losing control or falling
How does the balance system work? (from Move Forward PT)
Your sense of balance comes from many different systems working together to create stability of your body and you vision. Good balance depends on correct sensory information, proper use of that information by the brain, and the right response from the muscles. The sensory information that is needed comes from your visual, somatosensory, and vestibular systems:
1) the visual system
Your vision provides important information to the brain about your environment, specifically where your body is in relation to the horizon while still or moving.
2) the somatosensory system
You have special sensors sensitive to stretch, pressure, bibration, and touch in your muscles, tendons, joints, and skin that help your brain to know how your body is positioned.
3) the vestibular system
Balance organs in the inner ear tell the brain about the movements and position of you head. This systemsenses head movement and keeps your eyes focused. It can also tell the brain when your head is moving in a straight line (like when you are riding in a car or going up or down in an elevator) and sense the position of your head even when it is still (if it is upright or tilted).
 
Information about your current state from all of these systems travels to the brain stem. The brain stem also gets information from other parts of the brain, mostly about previous experiences that affect you sense of balance. Your brain can control balance by using the information that is most important for a paticular situation.
Once your brain stem sorts out all of this information, it sends messages to the eyes and other parts of your body to move in a way that will help you keep your balance and have clear vision while you are moving.
When the balance system is not working properly, the result can be a "Fall"

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