New Medical Technology Helps Detect Poor Balance

Do you have good balance?  It may seem like an unnecessary question but for the elderly or those at risk of a concussion, it is a very serious issue.

Falling is the leading cause of injury death among older adults and now St. John’s Health Center is offering a new way to detect and prevent the risk of a dangerous fall.

St. John’s is beginning to use equipment known as the Biodex balance machine which analyzes just how well people can stand and balance.

Shelly Mayes, a physical therapist at St. John’s, explains the machine forces you to balance in different angles and positions and then analyzes where are your strengths and weaknesses.

This kind of information can be useful for any elderly men and women who live alone, but also for athletes who play in a high impact sport.

“You can do pre and post testing for athletes who have concussions like football players,” says Mayes.  “You can bring the athletes in preseason do the assessments on them then and then and if they have a head injury throughout the year you can bring them back in and do some post testing to see any deficits that they have and any training that they need to get back to their previous level of function.”

Mayes says the balance assessment is also help for those recovering from injuries.  She recently had a lot of improvement for a patient with knee issues.

“I used it on her her first week of therapy and she did some balance training on it and she had a lot of issues with certain weight shifting activities.  And then I did it on her just last week when she was about a month out of her new surgery and she had a lot of improvements on that.”

Once the machine asses balance, physicians can prescribe physical therapy to compensate and correct any insufficiencies.