Chiropractic Care for Regaining Your Balance and Coordination
Good balance and coordination can help you avoid falls and improve your sports performance. If you're not making saves during the game or feeling a little unsteady on your feet, chiropractic care may be just what you need to improve your balance and coordination.
How Poor Balance Can Affect Your Life
Information from your eyes, inner ears, muscles, and joints help your brain control your balance. When your balance system is operating normally, you'll be able to walk, stand, or perform more complicated movements easily. If the brain receives conflicting messages from any of these structures, dizziness, poor coordination, or balance problems can occur.
Balance issues are particularly common in older people. More than 25 percent of older people fall every year, resulting in 3 million emergency room visits, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The ability to maintain your balance naturally declines with age but can be affected by arthritis and other joint conditions.
No matter what your age, problems with balance may make it more difficult to walk on uneven terrain, climb stairs safely or stand on a ladder to change a light bulb. If you're an athlete, poor balance could affect your ability to make contact with the ball or stay on your feet when pivoting suddenly. Balance or coordination issues can increase your risk of injury while playing or practicing and prevent you from performing at your optimum level.
Improving Balance with Chiropractic Treatment
Your balance issues may be related to:
- Misalignments: Even a slight imbalance or misalignment in your bones, joints, or muscles can affect your balance. Alignment issues can be a result of falls or overuse but can also occur due to poor posture or normal wear and tear on your body. Bone and joint misalignments increase tension on muscles, tendons, and ligaments, worsening alignment issues and making injuries more likely.
- Nerve Issues: Misaligned bones, muscles, or tendons can press against nerves, disrupting the signals sent between the various parts of your body and your brain. When the nerves don't function normally, the signals that control balance can be affected. As a result, you may experience dizziness, vertigo, poor coordination, and loss of balance. A misalignment in the vertebrae in your neck could affect the nerves that lead to your inner ear, affecting the balance center in the ear.
- A Gait Problem: Your gait (the way you walk) may contribute to your balance issues. A misaligned spine or pelvis may throw off your stride, causing an abnormal gait.
Chiropractors use a variety of therapies to improve alignment, balance your muscles and bones, and enhance nerve function. Spinal manipulation, also called a spinal adjustment, improves the alignment of the vertebrae in your back and neck. Once the vertebrae are properly aligned, nerve function, posture, and muscle balance and strength will also improve.
In a study that appeared in the Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, researchers used spinal manipulation to treat patients complaining of neck pain, dizziness, and balance problems. Most of the participants noticed improved balance after treatment and some experienced less dizziness.
Older adults in New Zealand who received 12 weeks of chiropractic care during a research study had improved sensorimotor function after treatment. "Sensorimotor" refers to the combination of systems needed for good balance.
If your problems are due to an injury, chiropractic treatment can help you regain strength and balance more quickly. In addition to providing helpful treatments, your chiropractor can also show you exercises that will help strengthen the muscles that support your joints and offer tips that will help you improve your posture and gait.
Does chiropractic treatment sound like the perfect solution to your balance problems? Contact our office to schedule an appointment.
Journal of Chiropractic Medicine: Effects of Chiropractic Care on Dizziness, Neck Pain, and Balance: a Single-Group, Preexperimental, Feasibility Study, 12/9
Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics: Effectiveness of Chiropractic Care to Improve Sensorimotor Function Associated With Falls Risk in Older People: A Randomized Controlled Trial, 5/16
Vestibular Disorders Association: The Human Balance System
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Important Facts About Falls