Physical therapy for balance training consists of individualized treatment programs to strengthen areas of weaknesses which cause balance and coordination problems. A balance problem exists when an individual has difficulty maintaining a stable and upright position.
A range of factors can cause balance problems, including:
Balance problems can be caused by medical conditions, such as:
Balance problems occur when 1 or more of 4 systems in the body are not working properly:
If you see your physical therapist first, the physical therapist will conduct a thorough evaluation that includes taking your health history. Your physical therapist will also ask you detailed questions about your condition, such as:
Your physical therapist will perform tests, such as motion, strength, coordination, visual tracking, and balance tests, to help assess your overall physical ability. Your physical therapist may collaborate with your physician or other health care providers, who may order further tests to rule out any underlying conditions that may exist.
Our specialty trained physical therapist, Cassie Cochrane, offers numerous options for treating balance problems, based on each person’s needs. Cassie is a Neurologic Certified Specialists and is trained to evaluate multiple systems of the body, including the muscles, joints, inner ear, eye tracking ability, skin sensation, and position awareness in the joints (proprioception).
Cassie is an expert in prescribing active movement techniques and physical exercise to improve these systems, including strengthening, stretching, proprioception exercises, visual tracking, and inner ear retraining.
She can help treat your balance problems by identifying their causes, and designing an individual treatment program to address your specific needs, including exercises you can do at home.
Our specialty trained physical therapist will assess problem footwear and hazards in your home that increase your risk of balance problems or falling. Household hazards include loose rugs, poor lighting, unrestrained pets, or other possible obstacles.
By addressing specific problems that are found during the examination, Cassie will help you regain confidence in your balance and your ability to move freely, and perform daily activities. As you build confidence in your balance and physical ability, you will be better able to enjoy your normal daily activities.
Cassie will help you regain the ability to move around with more ease, coordination, and confidence. Your physical therapist will develop an individualized treatment and exercise program to gradually build your strength and movement skills.
Your physical therapist will teach you exercises to address muscle weakness, or to improve your overall muscle strength. Strengthening muscles in the trunk, hip, and stomach (ie, “core”) can be especially helpful in improving balance. Various forms of weight training can be performed with exercise bands, which help avoid joint stress.
Cassie will choose specific activities and treatments to help restore normal movement in any of your joints that are stiff. These might begin with "passive" motions that the physical therapist performs for you, and progress to active exercises that you do yourself.
Your physical therapist will teach you exercises for both static balance (sitting or standing still) and dynamic balance (keeping your balance while moving). Your physical therapist will progressively increase these exercises as your skills improve.
Cassie will determine if any of your major muscles are tight, and teach you how to gently stretch them. The physical therapist will also assess your posture, and teach you exercises to improve your ability to maintain proper posture. Good posture can improve your balance.
Your physical therapist will discuss activity goals with you, and design an exercise program to address your individual needs and goals. Your physical therapist will help you reach those goals in the safest, fastest, and most effective way possible.
Once your treatment course is completed, Cassie may recommend that you transition to a community group to continue your balance exercises, and maintain a fall-proof home environment. Many such community groups exist, hosted by hospitals, senior centers, or volunteer groups.
Cassie Cochrane is a native of Charleston, WV. She graduated magna cum laude with her Bachelor of Science in Exercise Physiology from West Virginia University in 2007 and then received her Doctor of Physical Therapy degree from the University of Pittsburgh in 2010.
Cassie has been a certified LSVT BIG therapist since 2012, and a board certified Neurological Clinical Specialist (NCS) since 2014. She is very experienced in treating patients with movement disorders such as Parkinson's Disease and Multiple Sclerosis, vestibular disorders, dizziness, vertigo, balance impairments, post-concussion syndrome, post-stroke, peripheral neuropathy, and spine disorders. Cassie also has a strong background in orthopedics, post-operative rehab, and geriatrics.
Feel free to contact Cassie directly if you have questions regarding balance training: firstname.lastname@example.org
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