BALANCE & MOBILITY
THE SCIENCE BEHIND BALANCE
There are three major components to maintaining balance:
1. Your sensory system for accurate information about the body's position and the environment around you.
2. Your brain's ability to process that information, develop a motor plan, and coordinate the muscle contractions and joint movements.
3. Your leg and trunk strength and flexibility, as well as the health & range of motion of the joints, are critical for keeping your balance.
The three different sensory systems essential for normal balance control include vision, inner ear motion sensors, and pressure sensor nerve endings in our feet, ankles, and joints.
Central processing from the brain helps to ensure the movements to maintain balance are calibrated properly and the right muscles are stimulated. Multiple pathways in the brain work simultaneously to help you stay balanced.
Your ankle, knee, and hip muscles need to be strong and flexible to carry out the motor plan the brain sends down through the spinal cord.
Your sensory systems respond to, or sense, the movement you just made and send that information to your brain. This is an automatic process that happens every time you move without you even being aware of it.
This is why it is easy to take our balance for granted until one of those elements has changed. I do a comprehensive evaluation of your balance to check all of of these systems and properly diagnose what is causing you to feel unsteady.
A balance disorder occurs when there is a change in one or more of these components.
Balance disorders are challenging.
It is very rewarding when I can guide a patient into recovery and see the change positively impact their life. When I work with patients it is NOT a one-size-fits-all approach. We dig into the issues and come up with a personal plan.
My extensive research, education and experience are unique to the West Central Minnesota area – I am here and ready to support you, hear your story, and help you build better balance to make the rest of your story smoother and safer.
So what happens when balance problems occur?
Most of the time, we don’t think about balance, and its importance — unless we notice a problem: dizziness, vertigo (spinning sensation), staggering, falling, faintness, confusion or blurred vision. It begins to disrupt your day-to-day activity.
Do I need to take action?
Yes, a balance problem can seriously impact your health and livelihood.
Balance disorders can:
-Increase risk for falls
-Disrupt normal sleep patterns
-Shorten attention spans
-Create difficulty with simple tasks
-Cause excessive fatigue
My specialty is treating balance disorders. I work with each of my patients to develop a personalized plan to get them back on their feet, feeling balanced and taking control of their health.
-Tami Kobienia, PT
WHAT IS VESTIBULAR THERAPY?
Vestibular therapy is the evaluation of the motion sensor system of the inner ear, it's pathways to and from the brain, and the many brain pathways that make up balance control.
Over the past 24 years, I have blended orthopedic, vestibular & neurologic rehab with the essentials of self care and wellness... A whole new approach to health.
My specialties are balance control, vertigo/dizziness treatment, falls prevention, & concussion rehabilitation... and the goal is to help my patients restore their ability to engage with their hobbies, their community and their passions.
Are Dizziness & Vertigo the Same Thing?
Vertigo is the illusion of movement, such as swaying, rocking, bobbing, or spinning.
Dizziness is a nonspecific term that is often used to describe lightheadedness, dizziness, and/or faint sensation.
One of the most Frequently Asked Questions I hear about both conditions is “How can I prevent this?”
Watch the video to learn more about dizziness, vertigo and the importance of balance to your overall health.
Balance Test | What To Expect
I use gentle techniques and tools to assess the way your vestibular system is working, and diagnosing any issues that may be causing you to feel off balance.
Check out this short video for a look at how I perform a balance test.
FAQs | Balance Control
I hear stories like this a lot...
One day someone noticed that their balance was a little off — they didn't think much of it — until their symptoms really started to ramp up seemingly all at once (dizziness, vertigo, imbalance, headaches and falls).
I stress this ALL the time — IF there is even a slight change in a person's balance — that is when they should look into seeing a balance specialist.
Watch for more on balance control questions.
Movement & Assistive Devices
Throughout my experience working with balance and mobility, I have found many folks that resists using an assistive device, such as a cane or walker, for fear that it will make them appear old and weak.
Take a look as I explain the way our movements can cause our bodies to appear frail, not the device itself.