I’ve said it before and I apologise if I’m becoming a bore, but falls is a big deal! They have a huge impact on the individuals that have them, both physically and mentally and cost a lot of money.
A third of all people with hip fractures as a result of falling will die within the first year.
The estimated cost to the NHS is £2.3 billion per year, as stated by NICE, Falls in Older People 2013.
A history of falls is the single most important risk factor in predicting further falls.
The risk of falls increases year on year after the age of 65 and it’s believed that people over the age of 80 will fall at least once a year.
So why physio?
Physio’s are trained to assess balance, muscle power and imbalance. When you see a physio, they will be able to find the cause of your problems and then treat it specifically.
Falls prevention has been proved to be more effective when it is a multifactorial approach, that’s a fancy way of saying that exercise alone won’t help the problem. You need the full overhaul! Physio’s are used to working as part of a wider team and they will be able to sign post you to you GP/pharmacy for a medication review. Advise you on the best walking aids and where necessary refer you to an OT. They will be able to help you fall proof your home and out door spaces.
A physio will be able to prescribe you an individual programme that will work to improve your balance and then progress it as you improve. This is an essential part of treatment and a physio will have the skill to recognise when you are struggling and modify exercises where necessary.
Physio’s are skilled at treating multiple conditions and sadly these are the things that make us more at risk of falls. Conditions such as osteoarthritis that affect joint mobility and strength, conditions that may affect our exercise tolerance such as respiratory disease and heart conditions, your physio will know how to treat and manage these conditions in the best way and will be able to advise accordingly.
Group exercise for falls prevention has been proved to only be effective when it is specific to the person and progressed accordingly. So, although it temping to go for the cheaper options of an exercise group, unless its physio lead you won’t get the benefits that I have mentioned above.
Falls prevention will help you to reduce your risk of falls, it will improve your balance and overall strength, the advice that your physio will give you, will help eliminate some of the risk in your homes and make you safer when you are out and about. There is evidence to suggest that if everyone over the age of 65 who was at risk of falls saw a physio this would prevent 160,000 falls per year this is a financial saving of £250 million per year.
I hope my 6 reasons have given you pause for thought, don’t be a statistic, come and see what we can do to help you reduce your risk!