Let’s Get Down to Balance #1

At Live Life Physiotherapy we have seen balance across the lifespan. We would like to break down the importance of balance and how you can create daily balance habits to maintain independence through your later years in our series, Let’s Get Down to Balance.

The 3 Systems

Vision- This is the obvious one. With eyes closed, most people sense a reduction in their balance. This is a dominant system when it comes to maintaining your balance and some might not realize there are other systems at work, however people that are blind can still stay upright!

Vestibular- This system resides in your inner ear. It consists of multiple organs that use fluid to sense your head’s positional changes in every plane of motion. If you have ever heard of BPPV or heard of someone that felt like the world was spinning around them, that is your vestibular system malfunctioning.

Proprioception- This is an interesting one because it can be difficult to comprehend. It is basically nerves throughout your body that tell your brain where you are in space. For instance, when you close your eyes, you are able to touch your nose with your fingertip. That is proprioception at work. If you want another way to see proprioception in action (and can do it safely), stand on one foot without any other support. Do you feel/see your ankle twitching and moving around to keep you from falling over? That is proprioception.

3 Strategies

The better your proprioception, the faster your brain and neuromuscular system respond to drifting away from perfectly aligned balance. We call this your “ankle strategy”. It handles most of the balance when you are standing straight up against minimal external forces.

At times, however, it is not enough and if you relied solely on your ankles, we would fall with moderate amounts of forces working against us. In comes your hip strategy. Imagine being pushed in the back and your trunk folds forward, but you don’t have to move your feet to keep your balance.

When all else fails, in comes your stepping strategy. You get pushed in the back or you trip over something and there is no way you can keep your feet where they are and not fall down. Your center of mass is far outside of your base of support. So you move your foot to establish a new base of support and voila, you don’t fall down.

Be on the lookout for the next blog in the series where we discuss balance changes through the lifespan!

Interested in learning more and committing to improving your balance with a comprehensive balance assessment and plan of action?

Reserve your one-on-one consultation at https://livelifephysio.com/reservations

Expectations and Investments

Expectations and Investments

At Live Life Physiotherapy we have experienced and learned what physical therapy has been reduced to in the traditional medical model of care.  The kind that is governed by insurance reimbursements and number crunchers.  The kind that has continually reduced reimbursement to the people that provide the care while increasing cost-sharing to customers with higher co-pays and co-insurance, all to line the pockets of those that sit behind a desk to maximize corporate profit.  What does that mean for your care?  Physical therapy clinics along with primary care physicians and healthcare providers at large feel the squeeze.  They need to see more people in order to keep the business side of healthcare “healthyish”.  More people equals less personal attention and learning your story, which in many cases, is the only way to appropriately address your pain.

Why settle for sub-optimal care?  It doesn’t make any sense.  Your physical capacity is an investment.  If you want your body to maximize your financial potential, it needs to perform and it needs to perform for the long haul.  Sure, for the right person, going to a busy clinic with 10 minutes of attention from the therapist and 45+ minutes running through a semi-standardized exercise program is just what they need to get back to what they need to do.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t have the time to spend doing sub-optimal exercises that might help my pain, in an impersonal clinic that I could be doing at home, when I have a million other things to do during the day (coming soon: habits and why maintaining an exercise program is so difficult).

What else is there?  Live Life Physiotherapy.  If you don’t think you will thrive in the above atmosphere or you have tried it and you KNOW it was not a successful experience, join our team on a journey to prove there is a better way.  Invest in value.  Expect one on one personal attention for the entire hour-long treatment session.  Expect an investment into your story and pain journey to best personally tailor your treatment plan.  Expect reduced time commitments for traveling to and from a big clinic for impersonal treatment.  Expect fewer visits with better results.  Expect the results you work for and achieve with Live Life Physiotherapy will maximize your mind and body’s financial potential and well-being, for the long term.  Invest in yourself and experience the Live Life Difference.

Much Ado About Pain

Pain, pain, pain. It’s at the forefront of many peoples’ minds. Sometimes physical, sometimes emotional, sometimes psychological. Our brains are vast networks of relationships that work together with a goal of maintaining homeostasis. Many people think of physical pain as being a tissue injury of our musculoskeletal system, but would it surprise you to learn that physical pain is affected by many other systems in our body? There are different parts in our brain that respond as a team to form a reaction to every environmental stimulus. It’s how we react in stressful situations, it’s how we sense a threat and safety, it’s how we love and hate. These reactions are based on our genes and how our unique environment has shaped how those genes are expressed. These established but changeable pathways are the same pathways that are used to interpret pain. We need context to interpret pain. Think about this common example of a toddler falling and scraping their knee with a little blood. The child at first doesn’t react, but then if they see blood or see an adult react with a little excessive urgency, they start crying. Now as adults, what context do we get from the medical establishment? Everyone wants to tell you how broken you are. I can’t tell you the number of times I have heard, “The doc said my knee is the worst they have ever seen” when reviewing an x-ray. Everyone has their own answer too. Pain meds, surgery, spinal adjustment, braces, etc.  Not that they do not have their place, but what is the common theme, they are passive and simplistic answers to oftentimes, complex issues.  Rarely do I hear stories from patients that they received positive recommendations and motivations to empower the patient to HELP THEMSELVES through their pain experience. Mental health and psychology have received such a bad rap that we only think it is for people who are “mentally ill,” but you cannot discount the brain’s role in pain. It is everything. It is the thing that synthesizes all of the input from the environment to make a judgment and reaction. What does the brain use to make the decision? Obviously the severity of the injury, but also past injuries and recoveries, what we are told by experts, and every other interaction that is involved in how your life will be affected by the injury. What happens at home, what happens at work, what happens within, what is expected of you? All of those factors play within the framework of your genetic predisposition. Everyone is different. Every single person’s pain is unique. So what is the best thing that we can do to help you? It seems strange to think that the best thing would be to play the role of the overreacting parent and tell you how broken you are, but that is what happens every day. We need to do better for you. We need to be more educated about the pain process. We need to stop stigmatizing the mental aspects of pain. I have seen absolutely incredible transformations in people that have been written off by the medical community and suffer day-in and day-out in pain. Does their pain disappear? It depends, but if it doesn’t, they are able to understand and work within their life much better. They are again able LIVE LIFE ON THEIR TERMS.

I am here to walk with you on your Journey to Live Life Intentionally.