Neurological Disorders: Difficulty with Balance and Walking
Neurological disorders can contribute to difficulty with balance and walking. Walking requires an incredibly complex interaction between the nervous system, muscles, and posture of the body. Without these components, your ability to walk is compromised. Many people do not realize how badly compromised their balance is or their limitations with walking, until they are quite degraded. It is often the fall, trip or loss of balance that is the wake-up call to poor balance. In addition, the loss of being able to walk distances is a clear indicator that the balance and walking mechanisms are disrupted. Walking not only requires good balance, but the ability to know where your joints are in space (proprioception), and the ability to know how your joints are moving (kinesthesia), as well as a good range of motion and strength. As we age, with declining activity, or after an injury, walking and balancing can become difficult. With previous injuries, pain or neurological disorders, our walking pattern can also change. When walking patterns change, abnormal stresses and strains with everyday activities can be transmitted to areas it shouldn’t. For example, if you have knee pain and you begin to limp, the opposite hip and your spine now have to take double the weight. This can lead to pain and dysfunction in those areas. The good news is that if you have difficulty walking, you can be helped. Physical therapists are the experts uniquely trained to do so.
How therapy helps
One of the main specialties of physical therapy is helping people to walk normally. This takes a thorough evaluation of your walking patterns, posture, range of motion, strength, balance and coordination. Through this analysis, a treatment plan is then developed that will address your range of motion, pain, coordination, balance and strength. The end result is the ability to walk without the need of an assisting device such as a cane or walker, safely and smoothly. In cases with progressive diseases such as ALS, Multiple Sclerosis or Parkinson’s Disease, physical therapy is critical to maintaining function, independence and walking as long as possible. If your balance or walking is not what it used to be, call us today to discover how we can help you walk better! For more information, contact us today.