One-third of Americans over the age of 65 will experience a fall this year, often due to balance problems that can be treated or prevented with the correct diagnosis. The Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Division of McLaren Bay Region is the first hospital in the Great Lakes Bay Region to add sophisticated testing equipment to measure the effects of balance conditions for patients who suffer from these problems.
McLaren Bay Region Physical Medicine has acquired the Smart Balance Master equipment manufactured by Neurocom. The equipment can provide a cost-effective method of evaluating dizziness for many patients affected by balance problems. McLaren Bay Region's Balance Program provides a comprehensive evaluation of balance and dizziness. The Balance Master is an essential part of that evaluation.
"For normal balance we need to have good vision, strong muscles, flexible joints, and good vestibular function (inner ear function). If any of these are not working properly, you may be at increased risk for falling, said Margaret Arnold, Physical Therapist and coordinator of McLaren Bay Region's Balance Program. "There are thousands of area residents at risk for falls due to inner ear or other physical problems," she stressed. "We have installed and are using the Smart Balance Master testing equipment to give patients and their physicians an accurate picture of their fall risk and the most appropriate therapies to correct the problems we find. Because balance is so important in our lives, we like to promote awareness of the issue by saying that 'Balance is the Key to Your Independence,'" said Arnold.
Balance and dizziness diagnosis consists of an extensive interview to determine the history of dizziness or balance problems; evaluation of muscle strength, range of motion, sensation, posture, balance and muscle tone; testing of vestibular (inner ear) function; oculomotor assessment to determine if there are problems with nerves controlling eye movement; positioning tests for Benign Paroxysmal Positional Vertigo (BPPV) which checks for inner ear problems; and computerized posturography if indicated, using the Smart Balance equipment.
Treatment plans are individualized for each patient, and can include:
- Home exercise program
- Exercises (strengthening, conditioning, balance)
- Pertinent functional activities
- Repositioning maneuvers
- Habituation/adaptation exercises
- Eye exercises
Admission to the program requires a physician referral. The Balance and Dizziness Program is located at:
West Side Medical Mall Physical Therapy
4175 N. Euclid, Bay City
Bay City, MI 48706
Phone: (989) 667-3646
ARE YOU AT RISK FOR A FALL? TAKE THE BALANCE TEST!
Take the Balance Test
- Are you over age 65?
- Have you fallen in the past year, or are you afraid of falling?
- Do you have numbness or loss of sensation in your feet?
- Have you had a stroke or other neurological problem that has affected your balance?
- Do you have problems with your vision?
- Do you experience difficulty getting around due to weakness or imbalance, or need a cane or walker for safety?
- Do you take more than 4 medications?
- Do you take Antivert or Meclizine?
- Do you feel dizzy or unsteady if you move suddenly or if you turn over at night?
- Do you have anxiety, confusion or feel depressed?
- If you answered "Yes" to 3 or more of these questions, you may beat risk for a fall.
Call your physician to arrange a referral. Learn more at mclaren.org/BayRegionRehab