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Articles by our Physical Therapists

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17. Winter Warnings: Fall Prevention

Winter Warnings:  Fall Prevention

Most winters the threat of slipping on ice is high….  This winter it may not be ice threatening our balance, but other factors such as vertigo and/or osteoporosis  can be just as big of a threat.  Vertigo can lead to disorientation and/or dizziness causing a loss of balance and coordination.  Osteoporosis does not just mean you may break a bone from a fall, but that a bone may break causing a fall.

Vertigo may be caused by stroke(s), inner ear disease/trauma, seizures, multiple sclerosis, and other insults.  Certain types of vertigo may be treated with medical intervention such as medications or physical therapy.  BPPV or Benign paroxysmal positional vertigo may be caused when crystals in the inner ear become dislodged and irritate the semicircular canals. Usually there is a connection with vertigo and unusual positioning or movement of the head.  Physical therapy may assist in both diagnosing and treating BPPV.

Osteoporosis is when bones become brittle and weak or more “porous.”  The bones may become so brittle that even mild stresses such as coughing or pulling open the door may cause fractures.  Treatments for osteoporosis include diet supplements, medications, and physical therapy.  Physical therapy treatments include load-bearing exercises and stretches to stimulate increased bone mass.

To find out more about vertigo, osteoporosis and fall prevention, please join us for our first Community Forum where we will share information on these topics and demonstrate activities you may do to decrease you fall risk.  We will be meeting in the Medical Arts Building (where EOMA and BVPT are located) on Thursday, January 19th at 6:30 PM.  For more information, please call:  541-523-8888.

Written by Jodi Flanagan, MPT

Published January 2012

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