Balance and physical therapy

Balance and physical therapy – help reduce the risk of falls

July 30, 2016


Jon Keller physical therapist

•One-third of Americans aged 65+ falls each year. Every 13 seconds, an older adult is treated in the emergency room for a fall; every 20 minutes, an older adult dies from a fall. Falls are the leading cause of fatal injury and the most common cause of nonfatal trauma-related hospital admissions among older adults.•Slip and Fall Statistics About Elderly | NCOA – National Council on Aging •…for…/falls-prevention-facts/National Council on Aging

It is common when an elderly person falls to fracture a hip, wrist bone, the upper arm area- the humerus, have a head injury, it is even possible to incur a subdural hematoma and result in death.

How do I reduce the risk of a fall…?

Studies have shown tai chi to reduce falls in seniors by up to 45%, Dr. Wayne says. It can also improve balance in people with neurological problems. A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found the program particularly effective for balance in people with Parkinson’s disease.Home » Harvard Health Blog » Try tai chi to improve balance, avoid falls – Harvard Health BlogTry tai chi to improve balance, avoid falls. Stephanie Watson, Executive Editor

TAI CHI Swimming in deep water

Stand with your knees slightly bent. Raise your hands to chest height, palms down, elbows slightly bent.Breathe in.Imagine you’re about to swim the breast stroke.Gently extend your arms forward.Sink lower into your knees and breathe out.Keep your back straight, your head up, and your eyes looking forward.Finish the breaststroke movement by drawing your arms back, in a flat, outward circle. Breathe in.At the same time, straighten slightly to your previous position.Repeat 10 to 30 times.

 Palms up and Down Tai Chi – below

  1. From the starting position, shift your weight onto your left foot.

  2. Lift your hands to chest height as though you were holding a large balloon.

  3. Breathe in.

  4. Carefully raise your right leg until your knee is parallel to your hips.

  5. If you think you might fall over, keep a chair close by. Just don’t rest your weight on it.

  6. Turn your palms outward. Extend your right foot forward slightly and tilt the sole of your foot out, as though pushing against a wall.

  7. Breathe out and hold for 1 second.

  8. Lower your foot and bring your arms down to your sides.

  9. Repeat 10 to 30 times, alternating feet

Every year 30 percent of people over age 65 suffer a fall. And quite a few of these tumbles result in serious injuries. Whatever your age, the best prevention is exercise that strengthens your muscles and improves your balance. The smooth, low-impact movements of tai chi fit the bill perfectly. And best of all, this gentle activity has been proven to prevent falls. Dr. Steven Wolf and his associates at the Emory University School of Medicine studied 200 people ages 70 and older. They found that subjects who completed a 15-week tai chi program took about half as many falls as before. The tai chi group also had far fewer falls than other groups who went through high-tech computerized balance training or who received information on preventing falls but no specific training. Dr. Wolf discovered that people in the tai chi group slowed down their normal walking speed and took more deliberate steps. And after the training, fewer participants said they were afraid of falling. J Am Geriatr Soc. 1999 Mar;47(3):277-84. J Geriatr Phys Ther. 2014 Jul-Sep;37(3):127-35. J Am Geriatr Soc. 2003 Dec;51(12):1794-803.for the following images and for the information…. all the way to the bottom of the page


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