Health Blog

Here’s What Maintains Your Balance

balance to prevent falling

Balance is not just something with which we are born. Balance is a sensory system that gathers information from our eyes, muscles, joints, and oddly from our ears. When someone experiences an injury such as a joint injury something happens in our body that shifts our system of balance. That something is our center of weight. Physical therapy helps to restore balance and reduce the risk of falling by addressing our center of weight. Let’s explore what that means and how Orthopedic and Balance Therapy restores balance.

Balance and Gravity

Balance is our body’s reaction to the downward force of gravity. Without good balance, we are at risk of falling. To deal with the constant force of gravity our body learns to control our center of gravity. If you are standing and you began leaning backward, how far back can you lean before you fall over? Some of us can lean back a lot and still not fall. For others, a slight lean and they lose their balance. That difference is because our body’s balance system is unique.

At Orthopedic & Balance, we work with people who need to retrain their balance system. Our goals are always to address your unique challenges so that the results focus on improving balance and preventing falls.

Injuries and Balance — It’s All about the Center of Balance

Injuries come in all shapes and sizes and they affect different parts of the body. A broken leg, sprained ankle, torn rotator cuff, total joint replacement surgery, etc., all impact how we move. Diseases such as osteoarthritis also affect how we hold our body and can cause limitations to range-of-motion and mobility. These are all examples of injuries or illnesses that impact our balance.

When you walk using crutches, your center of gravity changes. When your rotator cuff repair immobilizes your arm, your center of gravity changes. When you live with a bad knee your center of gravity changes a lot. As you favor one joint by using another more often you change the entire way that your body relates to walking, sitting, and standing. With many of these injuries or illnesses, the center of gravity becomes narrow and small. When that happens, it becomes easier to lose our balance and fall.

You Can Fix Balance and Decrease Your Risk of Falling

One of the key takeaways from the above conversation is that our center of gravity changes. As it changes it affects our balance. Even if you are having a hard time finding your balance and keeping it, we can help.

We use a variety of exercises that strengthen the relationship between the brain and the body. These include the relationship between:

  • Vision and balance
  • Muscle and balance
  • Joints and balance
  • The Vestibular system and balance (inner ear)

These are the major input sources that help our brain adjust balance. They are like a muscle. If you do not use them they become lax but with exercise and guidance they can grow strong and as they do, your balance becomes wider and stronger. In short, as you train your balance center the outcome improves fine motor skills.

The Brain Is a Complex Tool

The brain and neural network perform millions of operations per second. In order to achieve such a high level of efficiency, your brain relies on things like muscle memory. When you have an injury or you have a “bad knee” the muscle memory around that joint or extremity changes to accommodate the injury. When it is time to take off the cast or after you have surgery for a total joint replacement your brain does not remember the old ways. It relies on the new ways. Part of regaining your balance involves retraining your brain and creating new muscle “memory.” That is part of what exercise does to improve balance.

Think about a baby learning to walk. When they first pull themselves up to stand they are wobbly. After a few times, they gain confidence and their wobbly legs become steadier. Then they try to walk. It’s the same wobbliness. Then they get better. Even as adults, we retain that ability to train our brain to improve our balance and reduce our risk of falling. We refer to that part of your body as the coordinated balance system and it is totally retrainable.

Go with Your Strengths

When it comes to relearning balance, tailoring an individual plan is important. The challenges that you face are different from the challenges that everyone else faces even when those people have the same injury.

By focusing on your needs and your challenges we are better able to help you meet your healthcare goals. By understanding the deeper causes and effects of balance we are able to help people improve their mobility while decreasing their risk of falling. Our goal is always to improve the quality of life of each person we treat. That is why we make you a chief player on your healthcare team.

Balance and Dizziness Workshop

Learn to improve your balance, resolve dizziness, and prevent falling in this interactive workshop. Plus avoid the single biggest #1 mistake balance and dizziness sufferers make.

Click here for the Valparaiso Balance and Dizziness Workshop.

Click here for the Crown Point Balance and Dizziness Workshop.

Click here to register for the LaPorte Balance and Dizziness Workshop.


To your better balance,

Arlan Alburo

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Our Reviews
Heidi Richardson
Heidi Richardson
17:00 19 Sep 19
I went to physical therapy not expecting it to do very much to help because that’s the way I approach everything with low expectations. Noel and his team have made my neck feel so much better that it puts me in a more positive mood each day and I actually feel more positive and more productive on a day-to-day basis..
Christine O'Donnell
Christine O'Donnell
16:26 14 Aug 19
I could barely walk into OBTS six weeks ago. I had very bad lower back and hip pain. The progress has been life changing for me. I always walk out of there with little or no pain. The staff, Laura, Dr Diane, Angie and, of course, Peggy, have taught me so much to keep my pain at bay. I highly recommend this team.
Nancy Guenther
Nancy Guenther
15:28 12 Jul 19
Absolutely awesome! My walking has improved 110%. And my pain level is zero. I highly recommend them. will be amazed how much better you feel.
Tracie Baxter
Tracie Baxter
20:24 03 Jul 19
This was the only place that could help with my TMJ. If you’re suffering from TMJ go see Noel! He really understands the condition. I no long have to deal with constant pain! The whole staff at this office is amazing and very welcoming.
Cindy Standiford
Cindy Standiford
21:33 28 Jun 19
The whole team is great!! I’m getting great care! I recommend Orthopedic & Balance for any issues you might have.
Joseph Mulholland
Joseph Mulholland
19:53 09 May 19
Amazing staff and amazing care. I came in barely able to stand up straight due to a back injury. After 6 weeks, I feel like brand new. Everyone was extremely helpful and easy to work with. Highly recommended!
Trool u
Trool u
19:44 24 Apr 19
I am a PTA student that was required 16 hours of observation time. I had the pleasure of completing my hours at this Valpo location. The staff is incredibly friendly. They were quick to make me feel at home. In a way I was sad to leave, but happy to continue on. I hope to eventually work in this field with a work family this caring and knowledgeable about their profession.
sharon Kramer
sharon Kramer
16:23 18 Apr 19
My experience has been a very enjoyable and rewarding experience in getting me to feeling better. The staff does a remarkable job and are fully qualified in their respective areas. The staff made it fun coming here and they were very caring and helpful with their clients!!
Tim Nash
Tim Nash
15:32 27 Aug 18
My first experience with OBTS was very positive. During the course of my 13 therapy sessions I worked with many different therapists and all of them were professional and competent. They were able to help me effectively control my pain without medication using their therapy program. Unfortunately, they could not get my physical condition back to the same ability as before. However, this is due to the fact that it was later determined by my doctors that I required surgery. I plan on returning to OBTS for my post-op physical therapy and have already scheduled my evaluation appointment. Scheduling seems to be a challenge sometimes but that's probably an indication of their patient's satisfaction and good reviews. Thank you OBTS!
Arlene Gross
Arlene Gross
15:58 22 Jun 18
Everyone that worked with me was helpful. I enjoyed watching the staff interact as they worked as they laughed and smiled making me feel that it was fun to exercise. My knee pain is less and I look forward to having the same results with my back.
Jose Ico
Jose Ico
12:43 27 Apr 18
My wife and I have been coming here for a year. They have wonderful customer service and the treatments were great. I could say that since coming here for treatments, I am now able to walk properly and sleep well at nights. They help you in the best way possible. The people here are great and we definitely recommend it to everyone!
Paul Grant
Paul Grant
21:51 03 Apr 18
I have read lots of reviews that say "the entire staff of ..." is great, and you know that it is BS.. .. Butt at OBTS that statement is true. The person answering the phone, appointment setting they work around my schedule. It is truly a team concept. Everyone that has work with/on me keeps me focus on getting healthy to play golf.... Even those employees that haven't work with/on me are upbeat, positive and encouraging both their patients and me..... follow up phone calls, positive, hand written notes of encouragement, reminding me to do my homework so I can play golf this year. Great Employees, Great Business!.
Diane Burns
Diane Burns
02:30 16 Mar 18
I’ve had an incredible experience here at OBTS. In just two and half weeks I’ve seen and felt remarkable results. My hip mobility has improved by 30%. I credit the excellent physical therapists and the deep tissue laser therapy for my gains. I’ve gone from walking with a limp and pain everyday to walking normally and know that I’ll be back to running in the future. Every single person is warm and friendly here. Great place!
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