5 Ways to Strengthen Your Balance and Prevent Spinal Fractures

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Whether it’s from a severe fall, a car accident, or as a symptom of osteoporosis, a fractured spine can be extremely painful and debilitating. If you have experienced a spinal fracture, you will want to ease the pain, treat the fracture and strengthen your balance to prevent any future mishaps. Often, individuals are unaware of the fact that there’s a good chance to treat spine fractures without surgery. Physiotherapy utilizes biomechanical and physical means to assess, prevent, and treat injuries or diseases.

Why is balance important?

Good balance helps you walk without shuffling, it enables you to prevent tripping and withstand missteps that would otherwise cause fatal accidents. In essence, balance reduces your fall risk and protects you from crippling spinal fractures.

A fractured spine not only takes a toll on your mobility but also threatens to take away your independence. Your skeletal system is what holds the body together, so it makes sense to ensure that you have good balance. Below are five tips to strengthen your stability and keep the sways, swerves, and slips at bay.

  1. Nutrition

    One of the most important things you can do to help strengthen your balance and prevent your spine from fracturing is to ensure your diet is rich in vitamin D and calcium. As well as maintaining an adequate intake of sodium while monitoring your protein intake.

    • Calcium plays a vital role in maintaining healthy bones. Foods rich in calcium include: Dairy products, yogurt, cheese, collard greens, spinach, broccoli, sardines, and almonds.

    • Vitamin D helps the body to absorb calcium. Studies have shown that vitamin D is the key needed to unlock the door, allowing smooth and efficient calcium intake into the bloodstream. As the human body ages, its calcium absorption capabilities deteriorate, hence the need for the vitamin D. While the body absorbs vitamin D when exposed to the sun, also take shrimp, tuna, and eggs (in the yolks).

    Not a fan of calcium and vitamin D rich foods? Consider taking supplements. However, have your doctor assess your calcium and vitamin D levels before using supplements.

  2. Core stability

    Core stability is an important contributor to good posture. But, the core area of the body is not limited to the abdomen. It also includes the pelvis, muscles in the spine as well as the buttocks. The core allows the body to move since it is the gateway between the lower and the upper body. Failure to address this area can ignite an array of complications from hip discomfort to impaired balance. When performing core stability exercises, always remember that core stability comprises of strength and coordination of muscles. Excellent examples of core stability exercises include pilates, planks, bridge and oblique twists.

  3. Choose the right form of exercise

    Because of varying degrees of spinal fractures and the risk of more damage, you need to find exercises that are appropriate for you. You can significantly improve your balance by engaging in flexibility exercises, strength training, and stability exercises.

    • Strength training:  Strength exercises involve boosting your body’s ability to not only develop, but also maintain healthy bones and muscles. Training includes weight-bearing through resistance bands and free weights to help maintain bone density and strengthen all major muscles.

    • Flexibility exercises:  Training your joints to move through their full angle of motion on a regular basis keeps your muscles working well.

    • Stability exercises:  Balance exercises help improve muscle coordination throughout the body in a way that boosts stability. Tai chi and yoga facilitate slow but focused movements that bring about controlled attention to different areas of the body. As a result, these exercises engage your balance system allowing you to hold different positions comfortably.

  4. Good posture

    Proper posture takes a load off your spine. To have good posture, you need to train your body to walk, stand, and sit in positions that place the least strain on supporting bones, ligaments, and muscles.

    Benefits of good posture:

    • Keep joints and bones in the correct alignment

    • Prevent the spine from undue stress hence preventing it from getting fixed in abnormal positions

    • Reduce the strain on muscles and ligaments, therefore, preventing backaches

    • Prevent abnormal wearing of joint surfaces

    Talk to your physical therapist and get an individualized posture and movement program to help you learn the proper body mechanics to carry out your daily activities.

  5. Seek out a physical therapist

    Developing a healthy balance requires specific and smart instructions. Certain exercises to strengthen your balance can have some side effects. While some methods to improve your balance might seem to work.  Always consult a physiotherapist to find ideal ways to improve your balance and prevent putting you at risk. There are numerous approaches commonly used in physiotherapy to improve balance as well as prevent spinal fractures and hence the need for a professional. A physiotherapist is an expert in the field who will utilize techniques used by kinesiologists, chiropractors, massage therapists, and osteopaths to help with all your physical therapy needs.

    By recognizing the role posture plays on your spine’s health, you are safeguarding your long-term quality of life. It is essential to understand that a healthy spine plays a significant role in mobility. You must always protect yourself from any injuries that may touch on your spinal cord. Not only are such injuries, life-threatening but also, they are likely to result in impairment of bodily functions including manipulation of limbs. Moreover, spinal fractures can be extremely painful and difficult to rehabilitate. What might start off as lack of balance can spiral into a fractured spine and eventually loss of independence.

For more information on how physiotherapy can help you improve your posture, contact Focus Physiotherapy. Focus Physiotherapy has 6 convenient physiotherapy clinic locations in the Greater Toronto Area:Etobicoke, Mississauga, Brampton, Bolton, North York and York. Please click one of the locations below for contact information, directions and hours of operation. We look forward to speaking with you.

By |May 4th, 2018|Fitness Tips|Comments Off on 5 Ways to Strengthen Your Balance and Prevent Spinal Fractures

About the Author:

Anthony Grande
Anthony Grande has been a Registered Physiotherapist since 1996. His desire to help people recover from their injuries pushed him to provide better care and get involved in professional and government organizations, where he gained the opportunity to be part of roundtables with Ministers and their staff. He specializes in medical acupuncture, sports injury recovery, and stroke and traumatic brain injury rehabilitation. Anthony devotes his personal time to his family, animal welfare, and social entrepreneurship.