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Elvis and your balance … an unwritten ballad

In 1962, Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling in Love” hit number 1 on the charts. Really great tune about that special feeling between two people who have a deep connection. But, what if the title was a few words short? “Can’t Help Falling” is an entirely different sentiment.

If you are singing that song, you are on your way to “Heartbreak Hotel.”

I must admit that I’m a numbers guy. Numbers don’t lie. Statistics don’t lie. If you or a loved one are having problems with your balance, and the lyrics of your life include “Can’t Help Falling,” please read below. These are some alarming facts that you need to know.

• Number One: One-third of all adults over the age of 65 will experience a fall.

• Number Two: The number one reason that people aged 75 years or older need to visit their doctor is poor balance or falls.

• Number Three: This one is scary. 20% of people who fall and fracture a hip will pass away within one year of the accident.

• Number Four: The leading cause of death within the senior population is a fall.

• Number Five: For those of you who have been unfortunate and have actually fallen, the leading predictor of future falls is the first fall. So, in plain words, if you’ve fallen once, you will fall again.

If this information scares you, I apologize, but I believe wholeheartedly that you need to be scared. This topic needs a great deal more “gravity” brought to it especially for people just like you. See what I did there? “Gravity” as in “extreme importance,” not the force that is constantly trying to pull you toward the ground.

OK, I’m not as clever as I think I am. Back to you …

So, now what? You may have been told that poor balance is just a natural part of aging and there’s nothing you can do about it. So, you think you just need to live this way and limit your activity so you don’t fall.

If that is the case, you’ve been improperly counseled by someone who is not aware that you absolutely, unequivocally, 100% CAN do something about your poor balance.

I promise that getting back to doing the things that you love without the worry of a fall can be right around the corner if you do the right things and that includes specialized exercises prescribed and monitored by an expert in balance therapy.

The King also sang “It’s Now or Never,” and that thought is true for people with poor balance.

Do something right now. There is no pill, no surgery, no injection, no diet that will help.

Find a specialist in balance physical therapy and take action now so that you don’t have a fall that might lead to a major injury or even worse.

“A Little Less Conversation and a Little More Action” will prevent you from having a “Blue Christmas” this year. Be safe and be good to each other!

Joel J. Digris is a Schuylkill County resident with a master’s degree in physical therapy. He is currently employed by Achieva Rehabilitation as an outpatient provider of physical therapy and serves residents in Carbon, Schuylkill and Luzerne counties.