11/01/10  On Tuesday, November 2, 2010, physical therapists from Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center/Plymouth will be providing free balance screenings at the Senior Expo to determine how steady you are on your feet and what your risk of a fall is.  The physical therapists will be available from 7:30 AM until 3:30 PM at LifePlex in Plymouth.

Do you find yourself or a family member reaching for furniture more when you walk, or limiting your activities because you feel unsteady?  This may be a sign that you could benefit from a balance screening by a physical therapist.  In order to be stable when we walk, our bodies must integrate three systems:  our vision, our sensation, and our vestibular system.  Our brain relies on information received from our eyes (our vision), which tells us where we are in space and how to adjust.  The second system is called our somatosensory system, and it relies on sensations that our skin, joints, muscles, and tendons feel when we are walking.  The final system, the vestibular system, is positioned in the inner ear, and tells our brain where our head is positioned in space and in relation to our body in order to keep our eyes focused as we move.

Our balance is much like a three-legged stool.  If one of the legs of the stool is removed, the stool becomes wobbly and will likely fall over.  If one of the legs of our balance system begins to have problems, then we may feel unsteady when we walk.  Unsteadiness makes us more prone to falling.  Another thing that may affect balance is side effects from medicines.  It is important to discuss with your doctor if the side effects from medication may be causing the feelings of unsteadiness.  A person’s balance can easily be evaluated by a physical therapist through a series of non-invasive tests.

Pictured: SJRMC/Plymouth’s Physical Therapy Team

From Left to Right are: Rick Bultinck, Physical Therapy Assistant Sheryl Beckham, Rehab Tech Tammy Manns, Physical Therapy Assistant Shea Lee, Physical Therapy Assistant Eric Holsopple, Physical Therapist Maria Celadina,  Physical Therapist

Dawn Beery,  Physical Therapist Rick Straub,  Physical Therapist