Just about everyone has experienced a fall at some point after losing their balance or tripping over an object. Although common, falls can be dangerous and lead to many types of injuries, some of them long-term or even fatal. Fortunately, the most common causes of falling are also preventable.
What happens in the body when we fall? Falling occurs because the body’s balance has been disrupted through the person’s sensory and/or motor systems.
A person’s body can maintain balance because the brain receives and interprets information from several different types of senses:
1.Vision (from the eyes), which helps orient you to your environment
2. Proprioception or joint position sense (from your joints and muscles, telling your brain where your body is in space).
3. Vestibular system (from the inner ear)which senses motion, equilibrium, and the position of the head.
Based on these inputs, the brain sends information to different muscles of the body to help maintain balance. Sometimes, the muscles themselves can be weak, leading to a condition called a Musculoskeletal
Balance Disorder (MSBD®). For example, have you ever gotten off a treadmill, boat, or out of a moving car only to feel like you are still moving? This can be due to a sensory conflict and even muscle weakness leading to a dysfunction in balance. Most of the time, the brain can correct conflicting information to keep a person steady on their feet. Occasionally, however, a person may become off-balance and fall.