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Improving Balance and Postural Sway


male lat posture 3-23-15_WebMost individuals are familiar with the vestibular system that regulates balance and equilibrium in our brains; however, fewer are aware of the importance of sagittal balance and the measurable affects of proper posture on general stability. Sagittal balance implies that a patient is able to maintain a normal weight bearing line between their head and pelvis. Sagittal alignment with a proper thoracic kyphosis and lumbar lordosis is the basis of static spinal biomechanics and a fundamental element of correct posture.

Fall risk, especially in older adults, is an enormous problem facing our society. According to the CDC, one out of three adults age 65 or older fall each year, but less than half talk to their healthcare provider about it.  Balance assessment is now an affordable option for most chiropractors. Balance plates, once a very expensive device used by neurologists and other specialists, are now available and designed with the chiropractor in mind. Postural sway measurement along with asymmetric assessment can help pinpoint an individual’s center of balance and should become a standard tool in a postural assessment

BTrackS Better Balance allows BStrong4Life® operators/franchisees to measure the postural sway of their patients. Postural Sway provides a simple and effective indication of balance and has been shown to be directly related to fall risk. Patients with higher postural sway are excellent candidates for balance improvement training – the type provided by BStrong4Life®.BTrackS TestBTrackS Better Balance should be used to baseline test every patient’s postural sway before they begin their BStrong4Life® program. Based on the results of the baseline test, patients with higher postural sway should undergo training to specifically improve their balance and be tested with Better Balance regularly to monitor their progress. Better Balance will track every test with every patient and keep a record of all testing.

The BTrackS Balance Test – What does it measure?

The test administered with the Better Balance Software is called the BTrackS Balance Test or BBT. The BBT consists of three, eyes closed balance trials and takes approximately two minutes to complete. During each trial, Better Balance Software measures the patient’s postural sway, which is displayed in centimeters in real time on the computer screen as a numerical value and an orange trace overlaid on an image of the BTrackS force plate surface. After all trials are completed, the final BBT result is calculated and saved to the local computer. It can also be printed and provided to the patient.

Baseline testing your patients

Every patient should be baseline tested before beginning BStrong4Life®. The Baseline BBT result is displayed on the computer screen following the test and is recorded in the patients balance history file.

DSC_9422-BTS-LaptopUnderstanding Baseline Results

The Baseline BBT Result provides important information for three things:

1. The balance status of the patient
2. Whether the patient is an ideal candidate for balance training
3. How frequent to re-test the patient during balance training