Falls Update

18 May 15 - 03:00 PM

Falls are an ominous yet a very real part of life for people over 65 and many falls can be prevented once the causes are determined

Falls are an ominous yet a very real part of life for people over 65 and many falls can be prevented once the causes are determined. Research has shown that the risk of falling increases with age and is greater for women than for men, two-thirds of those who experience a fall will fall again within six months and failure to exercise regularly results in poor muscle tone, decreased strength, and loss of bone mass and flexibility. The evidence for physical activity as a falls prevention strategy is strong. Chiropractors have an important role in the assessment and delivery of interventions targeting the balance, strength and mobility of older people.

Most falls are preventable, injury from falls can be minimised, and ageing does not have to mean a loss of independence. Maintaining muscle strength, balance, endurance, and flexibility is the best way to keep the elderly on their feet. Exercise programs provide a safe and supported environment for progressive resistance strengthening, improved balance and functional control to give the elderly confidence to keep moving through life safely. Each patient will initially be individually assessed by the chiropractor and then re-assessed regularly to document improvement. Chiropractors are experienced in specifically devising a personalized exercise program. A chiropractor can also advise about whether a walking aid, such as a stick or frame, would help increase steadiness and confidence. But please note, it’s important that walking aids are properly adjusted and maintained. Chiropractic also plays a vital role in educating people about the falls risks, getting up off the floor, modifying the environment and improving their own physical well-being. Exercise has the potential to improve performance in balance, reaction time, awareness to know if the individual is starting to fall, and strength to stay upright and keep them on their feet.

Here are some guidelines outlined by the Department of Health and Ageing that you can do to help reduce your risk of a fall;

  • Be physically active every day. Whatever your age, aim to do at least 30 minutes of activity, at least 5 times a week. 
  • The activity should make you breathe a bit faster and your heart pump a bit harder, but you should still be able to talk while doing the activity. 
  • Exercises and activities that make you both stronger and improve your balance lower the risk of having a fall.
  • Some examples are Tai Chi, dancing or group exercise programs that include balance and muscle strengthening. 
  • Talk to your Chiro or Physio about which balance and strengthening exercises or activities will best suit you, and how to manage any pain you might have. 
  • Your Chiro or Physio can also advise you about whether a walking aid, such as a stick or frame, would help you. Using a walking aid can increase your steadiness and confidence to walk more. It is important that walking aids are properly adjusted for you, and that they are properly maintained (eg replace worn stoppers). 
  • Talk to your doctor/ chiro or physio if your health problems or pain make you worried about attempting more activity. 
  • If you have arthritis, being active helps to control pain, weakness and stiffness.
The Department of Health and Ageing have a downloadable booklet with everything you need to know about Falls Prevention available here




Falls are an Ominous yet a very Real Part of Life