Fall Prevention For All Ages & Abilities – By Dr. Chris Demczar

Fall Prevention For All Ages & Abilities – By Dr. Chris Demczar

Falling and injuring oneself is a fear everyone has. No matter your age, or what-ever you feel may make you more susceptible to falling, it is something that’s on more of our minds than others. Nevertheless, falling is avoidable, and even if you unexpectedly trip, the beauty of the intelligence of our bodies is that we can catch ourselves. That is why I like to say, it’s not about when we fall, but if and how we catch ourselves!

When we do trip and stumble, we have primitive basic reflexes that are supposed to allow for our body to catch us, so why does that not happen? A few reasons, but one thing is for sure. To catch ourselves from falling forward, the most com-mon way people fall, requires that we flex one of our hip flexors and extend that same leg quadriceps muscle to stop that fall. The modern day issue, is that if you spend lots of time in a hip and knee flexed position, whether it’s at a desk or in your garden, on your couch or in the car, you’re not using these muscle groups and they get lazy!

So, how can you assess if you are at an increased risk for a fall? Research has identified two tests that best indicate in the average individual if they are at risk for not being able to catch themselves if they fall. The first, try standing on each leg for at least 10 seconds. If you can’t stand on a certain leg for that long while maintaining your balance, you need to practice until you can get there. The second test is to do as many sit to stands in a chair as possible in a 30 min time frame. If you do less than 8, the research would say you are at a higher risk to not catch yourself during a fall.

If you feel there are other circumstances specific to you that prevent either test from being possible to perform, email me [email protected] we can discuss what you should be doing and looking for to ensure that you maximize your ability to catch yourself.

So, those tests were easy and you want to take it up a notch? Get out a for a hike in the woods! The unsteady nature of the ground will force you to constantly “catch” yourself in some way on every step! Crowders Mountain in Kings Mountain offers a plethora of trails of all difficulties. Some are paved trails, while most are unpaved and littered with rocks and changing landscape to traverse. Does this sound scary to you? Keep reading to find out what is scarier…

According to the World Health Organization, an estimated 37.3 million falls happen around the globe each year that are severe enough to require some sort of medical attention. Around half a million of those falls end up being fatal. As you now know though, the real culprit in the majority of the falls is that the person couldn’t catch themselves! So if going for a hike sounds scary, it should be a lot scarier to think that you may be unprepared to catch yourself should you slip, trip, and fall.

So let’s say that you do fall, and now you’re on the ground, and unsure if you can get up. Two things that you can do to ensure that you can move to go and get help.

  1. Pull both knees to your chest, and roll to your side. From there, it will be much easier to use your arms to help get yourself up. If one leg is not able to be moved, bend the good leg to your chest, and roll towards the side of the bad leg, so it is on the bottom. From there you can use your arms to continue rolling over so that your head is facing the ground, and then you can get up ,or crawl, from that position.
  2. If you are alone and worse comes to worst, lay face up, bend one or both knees towards the ceiling while keeping your feet flat on the ground, and then push your self towards your head along the floor. Get to where there is a wall or a piece of furniture that you can use to help you up. This may sound silly, but in a last resort situation, any piece of advice will help.

If you are wondering, can a chiropractic adjustment help with your balance, coordination, and reflexes? Of course! Changing the nervous system input and out-put in your cerebellum may improve your balance and coordination. Reflexes never leave the spinal cord to enter the brain, so direct removal of spinal subluxation may improve your reflexes. Improvements in these aspects will ensure that you are best prepared to catch yourself should you need to.

One last interesting fact… Migraine headaches have been linked with balance disturbances in our physiology! Long story short, if you find your self dealing with a migraine headache, you probably need to get your nervous system checked and adjusted, and you may also need to improve your balance!