By: Dr. Scott J. Heun
We all fall. It’s part of learning to walk, and eventually run. If you are an athlete, or were, you no doubt have fallen many times when pushing yourself to your physical limits. Many have said in various ways, life is not about how many times you fall, but how many times you get up and keep going. However, though perhaps true, this is merely a metaphor. Unfortunately, particularly in people 65 and older, complications of falling is one of the leading causes of death in America. Falls are the most common cause of non-fatal injuries and hospital admissions for trauma. At BStrong4Life Napa Valley, one of our primary objectives is to prevent our patients from falling in the first place.
While we specialize in chiropractic care and weight loss, we also teach patients the importance of prevention. Postural balance and core stability are the foundation of fall prevention. Every new person we evaluate, regardless of their symptoms, such as low back pain, sciatica, knee pain, headache, neck pain or trouble with shoulders, arms and or hands undergoes a postural evaluation. First, a visual study to assess the position of your head, torso and pelvic alignment: how your feet interact with the ground, and how your hips and knees articulate when you rotate or walk. Next, a precision, standing radiographic (“X-ray”) exam is performed to see how your spinal bones, pelvis and hips are positioned relative to gravity. Of course a thorough health history and muscle and nerve exam, along with your vital signs are also performed.
Once we have a complete understanding of how you are built, we can determine how balanced, and strong you are. In many cases, we also ask that a bone density study (DEXA Scan) be performed to see how strong your bones are internally.
Any pain or immediate restrictions of motion or performance, are addressed first. However, as soon as you are feeling well, instead of stopping and waiting for you to have another problem surface, we work to address any and all of your postural weaknesses or structural inequalities by building up your balance and core strength. Weekly or sometimes twice weekly supervised training sessions are instituted, and progress is closely monitored. Home training programs are also often used to supplement what is done in the office. Trekking or Nordic Walking, using StickMobility Training, or for some simply walking in a determined and specific manner to promote balance and cross pattern stability is implemented.
Like health in general, postural strength and core stability is an ongoing and never ending process. There is no finish line. That said, by first assessing any specific challenges and then focusing on strengthening weaknesses, real gains in function can be achieved. Preventing you from falling is one way to significantly change your life. Too many people wait until they have pain or some other obvious limitation before acting and contacting their chiropractor for chiropractic care. I urge you to consider having an examination to see how your body is built, and how you can maximize your performance and insure your future. Furthermore, alert your parents, siblings and relatives that prevention is a far better approach than trying to put “Humpty Dumpty” back together again. Call 707-255-4424 and scheduled a time for us to meet. I know you will be pleased you did.