Balance disorder and fear of fall due to a previous fall may cause several serious problems like the limitation of the daily and self-care activities, social isolation, depression and impairment in the quality of life.
If no precautions are taken against the balance disorder and increased risk of fall, several adverse consequences like pelvis fracture and head trauma may occur. In osteoporotic patients, even a fall on a flat road may cause fractures in the wrist, spine, and pelvis. The mortality rate after the falls is considerably high. Old age, diseases involving cerebellum, visual disorders, otitis media, vertigo, hemiplegia after stroke, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, osteoarthritis, pelvis and knee prosthesis, muscle atrophy and weakness due to the prolonged immobility, osteoporosis, vitamin B12 deficiency, cervical and lumbar disc hernia with nerve injury may cause balance disorders and increase the risk of fall.
The home environment of patients with balance disorder or risk of fall should be arranged accordingly; carpets, rugs, end tables should be removed. The floor should be made from non-slip material in the bathroom and handles should be assembled. The bedroom and corridors should be properly lighted. If necessary, walking aids, walking sticks should be used and the shoes should have non-slip soles.
Balance disorders and falls are important health problems, which can be encountered in any age but increase with aging and can cause serious consequences from small sprains to brain trauma and even death.
The physiatrist first determines the presence of the balance disorder and the risk of fall with computer-assisted systems and some scales developed for balance evaluation. The determination of the severity and the direction of the balance disorder and the evaluation of the risk of fall are followed by the muscle strengthening training, muscle strengthening programs with electrostimulation, computer-assisted balance training, and robotic gait therapies.