Ever feel off balance? Many of us sometimes do, but often we write it off as we’re just having an off day or not getting enough sleep. And that might be the case, however most people never really test their balance to know what is normal for them and what is not. We hear all too often our patients and family members disregard feeling off balance as just a part of aging—nothing you can do about it, right? Wrong! There is much we can do to correct poor balance, even for folks who’ve let it go for a while and are facing real concerns.
One of the biggest factors we see contributing to lack of coordination and balance is a lack of movements that stimulate the vestibular system in an effective way. Uncoordinated movements usually start when vertebrae get fixated in incorrect positions. As our bodies work to compensate for these misalignments, alterations in movement begin to appear. For instance, if a runner sustains an ankle injury, it triggers a compensating effect that travels all the way up the spine to the back of the neck. All these muscles have to find a way to balance out the weakness in the ankle, and so a shift in posture is created to support “normal” function. One of the first and most common compensations is a head tilt. This head tilt begins the process of offsetting your balance, in addition to the disrupted communication to the injured ankle, and in turn it tells your vestibular system (which regulates balance) that less function is needed. This game of telephone creates weakness, or a shift in your balance, and with time symptoms will surface more often.
In addition to regular movement (remember, motion is life!), chiropractic is the most effective way to prevent all this from occurring in the first place, and also the best way to restore balance when needed. Come see us and let us help you discover the proper movements and exercises to stay balanced and well adjusted. —Dr. Jake