Posture: Changes with Age

Approximately 40% of Tauranga’s population is over 50 years old and that’s nearly 60,000 people. The data below from 2016 and ACC recorded the rate of falls at 15.1% for people 50 years and older. This means 1 in 6 people had an ACC recorded fall in 2016. That was 5 years ago

Have you thought – what my retirement would be like/ What about after a fall? Have you ever thought about the risk? Would you be interested in discovering what your risk ACTUALLY  is for a fall?

You and I balance much like this ice cream cone, the centre of mass is higher than your base(feet). This makes you unstable, so to have an upright posture and balance you need to have sensory input to your postural muscles to counter perturbations (instability) and perform planned movement so you don’t fall. 


The scales represent the constant reweighting your sensory systems(vision, vestibular, and proprioception) make as you stand, walk, and move during your day. 


Posturography

Using a computerised system to assess your risk of falling is an objective and repeatable method to determine the input of the 3 primary components of postural stability. 


Your brain innately reweights your visual system, vestibular and proprioceptive systems depending on the situation you are in e.g, daylight/night time, even/uneven surfaces, slippery/dry, etc. 


With the results, we can direct the rehabilitation to target the weaker system and help build stronger balance.

Righteye and Senaptec

Righteye tracks eye movements, specifically saccades and smooth pursuit. These eye movements are critical for walking and moving around obstacles, driving, shopping an endless list. We can incorporate onsite and online training programs. 


Senaptec measures peripheral target identification, depth perception, reaction time of hand and eye movements, decision making for hand and eye timing and co-ordination. 


These aspects are all identified as being important for balance, stability, and being safe on your feet. 

Proprioception

This is sensory information coming from postural muscles of the legs, and receptors in the skin from the feet. How the muscles stretch and shorten as well as pressure on the soles of the feet provides detailed information of how the feet, ankles/knees/hips are moving. 


The increase in sensitivity to stretch is an adaption that the brain makes as compensation to changes in visual and balance decline. 

The question is simple; 

If you have a weakness in the postural stability system that is meant to keep you upright and stable – Do you wait until you fall to know?

NO – You need equipment that can detect changes to the postural reweighting system. This postural reweighting system is dynamic, changes with your surroundings and risks. 

But this system IS NOT affected by AGE.

                                                                                        

  • Equipment that can measure

    Eye movements e.g Saccades, Smooth Pursuit
  • Postural Stability and Fall Risk
  • Reaction Time, Depth perception, Perception span

These elements are critical for balance and can become weak and can only be detected and measured with specific equipment. 

As we age our preferences of this weighting system change and become dominated by proprioception. As research shows this is not the necessary or the best option. The weighting preferences should not change as we age.