As the population ages, preventing falls becomes ever more important. According to the Australian Commission on Safety and Quality in Healthcare, over 80% of people over the age of 65 who are hospitalized for an injury were injured in a fall.
Every year, about a third of people over the age of 65 experience at least one fall, with hip and thigh fractures and head injury being some of the most devastating potential injuries from a fall.
There are several factors that can increase the risk of falling, including postural instability, muscle weakness, cognitive impairment, vertigo, syncope, cognitive or visual impairments, and medication side effects. At NeuroBalance Chiropractic we can assess you for these potential causes, treat and advise you on the best way to prevent a fall. Call 02 9938 5456 now for a free 10 minute introductory consultation.
Nutrition in Preventing Falls
Removing obstacles can help, but it is just one approach and cannot prevent falls due to factors such as vertigo or side effects of medications. Exercise and good nutrition can help minimize and compensate for some of these factors, and strengthen bones to decrease the likelihood of injuries from falls. Our Naturopath can give you specific recommendations for your specific health needs.
Good nutrition can help both to reduce the risk of falls, and to reduce the risk of injury when falls occur. Simply staying hydrated and eating frequently can help reduce dizziness and lightheadedness by preventing drops in blood pressure that can contribute to fainting spells.
Dizziness can be a symptom of magnesium deficiency, and eating plenty of magnesium rich foods may help reduce dizziness, which can help reduce fall risk.
Eating a diet high in heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids can protect against blood pressure drops. Omega-3 fatty acids can also promote a healthy brain and central nervous system, which can, in turn, improve balance. Vitamins B6 and C have been shown to help ease vertigo caused by some conditions and medications.
Preventing falls is preferred, but sometimes falls happen no matter how many steps are taken to prevent them. Good nutrition can also help strengthen bones so that falls are less likely to result in injury.
Most people are aware of the importance of calcium to bone health, but calcium is just one building block of healthy bones. Eating foods that are rich in not just calcium, but also magnesium, phosphorus, vitamin K, and trace minerals can help improve bone health. Vitamin D improves the body’s ability to absorb and use calcium from the diet, while caffeine and phosphoric acid can impair calcium absorption.
It’s important, however, not to blindly change or supplement the diet. Getting too much of some nutrients can cause similar symptoms to not getting enough. Additionally, there are several nutrients that need to be kept in balance with other nutrients.
Taking supplements without knowing what is needed can potentially make the problem worse. Blood testing can help you determine exactly what, if any, nutrients you may be lacking. Call us now for specific advice from our Naturopath Eliza.
Exercise, particularly weight-bearing exercise, can also help reduce fall risk by improving balance, posture, cognition, coordination, reaction time, and joint flexibility. Weight bearing exercise doesn’t mean lifting weights, it means any kind of exercise that involves staying upright, such as going for a walk.
Weight bearing exercise can be high impact, such as aerobics or running, low impact, such as walking or climbing stairs, or no impact, such as Tai Chi or using an elliptical trainer.
Weakness in the hips and legs can make walking difficult, while weakness in the upper body can make it more difficult to stop a fall in progress. Weight bearing exercise can also improve core strength, making it easier to stand upright and maintain balance. Chiropractic care can also help improve mobility and normal the position senses that the brain relies on for balance.
Like nutrition, weight bearing exercise isn’t just helpful in preventing falls, it can also help protect against injury if a fall occurs. Weight bearing exercise has been shown to increase bone density, which makes the bones more resistant to fracture.
Exercise also helps strengthen the muscles, and strong, healthy muscles are more able to support the bones, and keep the joints stable and mobile.
While any exercise is helpful, if you have factors that increase your risk of a fall, or if you have experienced a serious fall, specific exercises may be more effective at reducing your risk. A chiropractor can assess your balance, gait, coordination, and reflexes and recommend specific exercises that can help improve these factors and reduce your risk.
To learn more about how nutrition and exercise can help you reduce your risk of falls, call NeuroBalance Chiropractic now at 02 9938 5456 to arrange an appointment. We have a naturopath who can perform blood tests to determine whether you may have a deficiency, and chiropractors who can help you determine the best exercises to improve your balance and coordination. At NeuroBalance Chiropractic we realise that everybody is unique and as such we don’t believe in a one-size fits all approach. Our experienced chiropractors, naturopath and acupuncturist can help determine what the cause of the problem is and give you solutions specific for you.
To make an appointment with one of our therapists please call 02 9938 5456.