Jake Berman

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Don’t Fall! Here’s A Simple Balance Test

Balance

Hey, it’s Dr. Jake Berman!

Let’s talk about balance. It’s one of the most common things people want us to help them with when they come in to the clinic!

Balance is something we take for granted until it’s taken away. Remember when you used to do cartwheels or spin around as fast as you could when you were a kid? Back when getting dizzy and falling over was something you did for FUN?

Ah, the good old days!

There are thee main systems that are responsible for your balance: the vestibular system (a fancy word for “the inner ear”), your vision, and proprioception. These concepts are actually very easy to understand! Let’s dive in and figure out what we need to focus on to improve our balance:

VESTIBULAR

Your inner ear consists of a number of semi-circular canals. As fluid circulates through the canals, the brain is able to detect where your head is located and help you feel grounded and centered.

As you age, however, and you stop a lot of the activities you used to do (like cartwheels and spinning!), the fluid starts having trouble circulating. And when the fluid doesn’t circulate, the brain doesn’t know where you are, which results in vertigo, dizziness, and a balance deficit!

VISION

Test this out: Stand on one leg (or, if you’re not able to stand on one leg, put one foot in front of the other on the ground). Notice how steady you are.

Balance

Now close your eyes. Suddenly it's harder to balance, isn't it?

When you can't see where you are, your brain has a hard time helping you balance. That's why you might have balance issues at night—the darkness impairs your vision!

PROPIOCEPTION

Don’t be intimidated by the big word! Propioception is the brain’s connection to muscles. For example, the reason you know where your hand is right this second is because propioception lets you. When you did the balance test, you used muscles to hold yourself up, and proprioception told you which muscles to activate (mostly stabilizing muscles) in order to stay in place.

That's all for this time! Stay tuned for next week's blog!

Dr. Jake Berman

Dr. Jake Berman

After graduating from the University of Florida, Dr. Jake Berman, PT, DPT sought out mentorship first from Bob Seton in Destin, FL and then from Aaron Robles in Jacksonville, FL. Both of these mentors have 20+ years of experience helping people keep active and mobile so they can enjoy high quality active lifestyles. What Jake found was that back pain was by far the most debilitating pain and the highest factor leading to decreased physical activity later in life.

These experiences are what inspired Jake to specialize in helping people aged 50+ keep active, mobile and pain free despite the aging process. There is nothing more rewarding than being able to alleviate somebody’s back pain so that they can get back to living their best life- especially in Naples! Over the years of helping 100’s of people aged 65-75 become stronger and pain free, one thing for sure has become apparent: “he who rests rots”.

Jake is a firm believer that we become stiff then old, not old then stiff. Seriously, think about it...
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