Balance issues are a common problem among aging adults. Many factors can contribute to balance problems among seniors. Things like medication side effects and health problems are sometimes to blame, but more often than not it’s simply a matter of weakened muscles.. As balance issues get worse senior’s often limit their physical activities more due to fear of falling, and this only worsens the problem as muscles weaken even further. If you or a loved one is suffering from problems with balance physical therapy can help correct these issues and help regain mobility and independence. Healthcare Providers Help Identify Contributing Factors When you’re experiencing problems with balance, the first thing you should do is discuss the issue with your healthcare provider to rule out health problems and medication side effects. Once your doctor gives the all-clear on your health they can refer you to a physical therapist. The physical therapist will go over your health history as well as evaluate anything that might be affecting balance such as flexibility, joint injuries, or weakened muscle groups. They will then work with your medical team to develop a plan to address the potential causes and help you to regain your balance. Types of Physical Therapy There are different types of physical therapy that are used to correct specific problems with balance. For example, if tight muscles and tissues are limiting flexibility manual therapy where the therapist massages the muscles and soft tissue to relax them may be in order. This may be coupled with a range of motion exercises to increase flexibility. If swelling and inflammation are contributing factors, cold therapy with ice packs may be implemented. Heat therapy may be used to help loosen and relax tight tissues, especially before exercise. Hydrotherapy which involves a gentle exercise in a heated pool may be prescribed to strengthen muscles while protecting injured or arthritic joints. And the therapist will often use strengthening exercises to target specific muscle groups that have become weak over time. Physical Therapy is Tailored to Your Needs Your physical therapist will set goals for you to meet through your therapy and as you progress and meet those goals your therapy will change to accommodate your current needs. As your balance improves you’ll be ready to take on new challenges to help you progress even further. The end goal of physical therapy is to make your everyday tasks easier and increase mobility and independence. While balance problems are common they shouldn’t be accepted as normal. Growing older doesn’t have to mean that you’re unsteady on your feet. If you have difficulty getting around safely on your own, have recently fallen or have a history of falls, or if you are recovering from a stroke, surgery, or injury that has left you with balance issues, talk to your healthcare provider and ask if physical therapy is right for you. It could be the missing link that could help you improve your balance and get back to living a healthy, active lifestyle again. At Ashbridge Manor Senior Living, we pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a socially active lifestyle to improve their health. When it’s time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!.