Age, Balance, and the Spine: How better spinal health can save your life
Life can change in an instant. Something as simple as a slip or fall can be a life-altering event, and for many older men and women each year – it is. Falling can lead to serious injury, disability, and even death. In fact, each year an estimated 37.3 million falls requiring medical attention occur and 684,000 individuals die from unintentional falls globally. This makes falling one of the most common traumas leading to hospital admission and the second leading cause of unintentional deaths worldwide.
Prevention strategies typically include general balance training, restricting certain activities, home modifications, and implementing the use of canes or walkers. These may be effective at reducing the risk of falls; however, they don’t improve the underlying reason why many individuals tend to lose their balance in the first place. A recent study found that balance was closely related to posture and spinal alignment. This study concluded that individuals with poor posture and improper spinal alignment had significantly worse balance than those with proper posture and alignment. This may explain why the population most at risk for falls is the aging population. As we get older our posture tends to decline and so to does our ability to balance. So, while providing our aging population with walkers may be effective in allowing them more support, it would make sense for prevention strategies to include a program that addresses spinal and postural health.
The two aspects of posture that studies show have the greatest impact on an individual’s ability to balance and; therefore, should be addressed within a prevention program are sagittal and coronal alignment. Sagittal alignment refers to the position of the skull in relation to the pelvis while viewing the body from the side. Coronal alignment refers to the position of the skull in relation to the pelvis while viewing the body from the front. An individual has healthy sagittal and coronal alignment when the skull is positioned directly over the pelvis. The further away the skull is positioned relative to the pelvis, the worse the alignment and the greater risk an individual has to unintentional falls. Below are examples of individuals with poor sagittal alignment (left) and poor coronal alignment (right).
Improving sagittal and coronal alignment
If you have balance issues and have tried traditional prevention strategies with limited or no success, improving your sagittal and or coronal alignment may be your way back to stability and better quality of life. The first step toward improving your balance will be finding a doctor certified in CBP (Chiropractic Biophysics) analysis and corrective methods. These doctors will use the latest methods of biomechanical analysis to measure and assess the severity of your sagittal and coronal alignment. If your spinal alignment is found to be significantly impacting your balance, CBP certified doctors will review the evidence-based methods that can be used to help manage and possibly correct your imbalances. Here at Modern Chiropractic Center we have the staff and doctors you need to get you back on your feet with more confidence and enjoying life again. Please give our office a call at 208-301-5641 (Boise location) or 208-205-9934 (Nampa location) to get scheduled for a free consultation and exam to determine whether or not we will be able to help fix your alignment and balance issues.