How Does Our Balance Work?
Your balance is comprised of a complex configuration of multiple points of input which all work together to keep you stable. Balance depends on 3 senses: auditory (what you hear), visual (what you see) and proprioception (what you feel). As we get older, these senses tend to deteriorate, leading to balance issues. Fortunately, we can train ourselves to maintain these senses, and oftentimes, improve where we have lost ground. Our sense of balance falls into two categories – static, and dynamic.
Static balance is the ability to balance while stationary. This is where we start balance training with most individuals in our clinic. It’s what most people think of when they picture a balanced position. To be able to balance statically your body’s center of gravity must be lined up above your center of support. When standing on two legs, the center of support is the center point between your two feet. When standing on one leg, it’s at the center of the standing leg foot.
Dynamic balance on the other hand, is the ability to balance while in motion or when switching positions. Dynamic balance needs to be added to the balance programs of all patients because this will help to reduce falls which is one of the leading causes of death in the US. Your body is being affected by two forces, gravity and momentum, each one pulling you in different directions. In dynamic balance your inner balance sensors have to work harder to keep your center of gravity above your base. This is the main type of balance we use during movement in our daily lives. At our clinic we use non stable surfaces to stand on in varied positions to improve all of their balance responses. For more information on how our balance works, see our vestibular therapy page.