Balance, its something you take for granted
Balance, its a complex matter. Something you take completely for granted. You never think how many of the day to day activities involve balance. Take these examples, climbing a flight of stairs , running, carrying a cup even just sitting on a chair all of these require balance. You are moving your body in relation to the environment. To do this you must use muscles and know where you are now and where you want to be.
What is needed for balance
What organs are used to ensure you don’t topple over when sitting on a seat or walking across the road?
- The inner ear contains organs two organs for balance
- To detect the position of your head. your ear contains of two sacs called the utricle and saccule.
- To detect the rotation of your head there are three fluid-filled loops that are arranged at right angles to each other.
- Your eyes deliver important information about your body’s position. Do you find it difficult to stand upright with my eyes shut?
- Proprioreceptors, a sensory receptor, found chiefly in muscles, tendons, joints. They detect the relative position of your limbs, this is done by sending messages to the brain, indicating how stretched your muscles, tendons and joints are.
Toppled over, I’d lost my balance.
My main problem are the proprioreceptors in my left leg. In the limbs, the proprioceptors are sensors that provide information about joint angle, muscle length, and muscle tension. This gives information about the position of the limb in relation to you. Quite often I feel unsteady and it affects me in all sorts of ways. The problem is compounded by muscle stiffness. So I need to move with more care than before to avoid losing balance.
A few days ago I was standing in a queue, I shifted my weight from one foot to the other whereupon I toppled over, I’d lost my balance. It must have looked quite dramatic, about 5 people rushed to help me. I hadn’t hurt myself just mangled a bit more of my pride. If I had been holding onto my rollator this would not have happened.
Did you know that walking is 80% balance, think about it.
Can I improve my balance
I’m not too sure if I can improve my balance but I am sure being positive will reduce the rate of progression – well that’s my theory. I do exercises to improve my core strength. The physiotherapists at the MS Therapy centre I visit give me exercises to do at home every day.
I’m not qualified to tell you what exercises to do, you need to speak to a suitably qualified physiotherapist.
As well as balance exercises I try to get out every day, I walk to the post office or the supermarket. I am not allowed to drive so I either have to walk with my rollator or use my trike when I go out.
Help with balance
When your balance deteriorates then walking becomes more difficult. It is well worth considering some sort of aid but once again seek advice from a qualified person. I think it is a good idea to give yourself time to get used to it before you go out with it.
- Stick As well as helping you with balance it ends out a message to other people that might need extra time to get around obstacles, or that you might need a seat on the bus.
- Rollator These can give not only a point of contact for balance, but also a support if you get tired. They come in a range of sizes, often with brakes for the wheels, a seat if you need to rest and a place to carry bags.
- FES Some people find functional electrical stimulation (FES) useful as an aid to assist walking.
- Fampyra It is a slow-release oral tablet developed for people with MS to improve walking speed and ability. Fampyra is available in Europe, including the UK, for people with MS who have problems with walking
Is there a cure?
A cure depends upon the cause of bad balance You can buy things to make life easier if your balance is not very good. A physiotherapist can help if the problem is with posture but at the moment there is no cure if the problem is because of the nerves as in MS
Write a comment about your balance problems and how you cope.