Loss of balance and mobility are not inevitable as we grow older. Sudden falls in older individuals, however, are of concern because the incidence of balance problems is known to increase significantly with age.
The number one indicator for fall risk is a previous fall. Other indications include symptoms of dizziness, lack of physical conditioning and/or activity, taking one or more medications, decreased sensation in the legs or feet, and the fear of falling. To complicate the matter, falls are typically not the result of a single cause or risk factor. More often they are the result of a combination of factors.
Because over 50% of falls and 85% of all dizziness complaints are due to vestibular (inner ear) involvement, determining the type and degree of vestibular dysfunction is critical in developing a treatment program that will decrease the patient’s fall risk.
The Vestibular Rehab Program at Advance Physical Therapy offers a comprehensive physical therapy and vestibular evaluation, individualized treatment plan and intensive patient and family education.
Initially, a thorough evaluation will be performed by Shella LoBianco, MSPT, who is specially trained in vestibular rehab. Shella utilizes the state-of-the-art Real Eyes® Infrared Video Goggles for testing and rehabilitation.
This along with special balance and vestibular tests allows her to accurately identify the cause of dizziness and quantify the patient’s functional balance status.
Based on the evaluation, she will partner with you to discuss treatment plans and set goals for progress.
You will receive therapy on a one-on-one basis to progress you through a program incorporating both hands-on clinical techniques as well as a home exercise program. Each session is typically 45 minutes to an hour 1-3 times per week, depending on your diagnosis.
Shella J. LoBianco, MSPT
• Shella holds a Certificate of Competency in Vestibular Rehabilitation (2001) and in Vestibular Function Test Interpretation (2007) both from Emory University’s Department of Rehabilitation.
• She has extensive training in Neuro Developmental Treatment (NDT) for adults with hemiplegia.
• Shella is the previous owner of Dizziness and Balance Center of Southwest Florida, PA.
• She served as Rehab Director for Comprehensive Balance Center of NYC and has served as consultant to various outpatient clinics around the country, assisting them in developing Vestibular Rehabilitation programs.
• In addition, Shella is certified in Tai Chi for Arthritis and incorporates many of the principals and forms into her treatment for patients with vestibular and balance impairments.
HOW DO I KNOW IF I HAVE A BALANCE PROBLEM?
Check off the items that may apply to you.
- I have a tendency to touch walls and furniture when I walk around my house.
- I avoid walking on uneven surfaces like grass, sand or ramps.
- I feel unsteady when I need to go to the bathroom at night.
- I feel imbalanced when I shower or wash my hair, especially when I close my eyes.
- I notice I keep my feet far apart when I am standing or walking.
- I feel I need to look down all the time to keep my balance.
- I have a lot of trouble negotiating curbs, steps or stairs.
If you have checked off two or more of these statements, or if you are not as confident as you would like to be with your balance or walking, call Advance Physical Therapy to schedule your a appointment with Shella today.