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Poor posture and balance are two common complaints in the Chiropractic office. Poor posture can lead to many common disorders affecting the musculoskeletal system; these may include neck pain, back pain, hip and knee pain and even head pain. Bad balance puts patients at risk for falls and may contribute to poor posture. Both of these conditions may be treated with appropriate testing, treatment and re-testing using vestibular therapy.
Why is therapy needed?
If the brain cannot rely on the information it receives from the vestibular system, a person’s ability to maintain posture and coordinate balance can become overly dependent on vision or on the information received from the muscles and joints. This can lead to developing new patterns of movement to compensate for t he change and to avoid head movements that are apt to create symptoms of dizziness and nausea. For example, a person might adopt an exaggerated hip sway as a method of balancing, might swivel the entire body rather than just the head in turning to look at something, or might always look down at the floor to avoid what appears as a confusing swirl of activity.
Unfortunately, these types of adaptations can result in headache, neck ache, muscle stiffness, general fatigue, and a decrease in the ability to retrain the brain to adjust to the vestibular problem, hence making the symptoms much worse. The goal of Vestibular therapy is to retrain the brain to recognize and process signals from the vestibular system in coordination with information from vision, muscles and joints. This often involves desensitizing the balance system to movements that provoke symptoms.
Vestibular therapy is a cutting-edge technique that enables the patient to gain greater control over their sense of body position (posture) and balance, while playing a fun and stimulating computer game.
First, patients stand on a digital platform that measures their posture by determining the weight differences from front to back, and from left to right. Second, the computer simulates the patient’s body to teach the patient how to control their balance by running them through a series of fun and therapeutic exercises while on the platform. Patients may be asked to hold a particular position or move themselves around obstacles on the=2 0computer screen, providing a fun environment for therapy. By using their body in these unusual ways, the therapy re-trains subconscious brain function. All of these results can be saved in the computer for comparison to future sessions.
Vestibular therapy is particularly beneficial for those suffering from neuropathy, a symptom of diabetes. Diabetic patients often suffer from a poor sense of balance due to reduced sensation on the bottom of the feet. Vestibular therapy will assist the patient in restoring that balance. You owe it to yourself to look into this special program so you can begin to regain your equilibrium and put your bad days behind you