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Voted Best Physical Therapy by Fort Worth Star-Telegram

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    Cognition's Effect on Gait and Balance

    Decline in cognitive functioning and gait impairments often coexist together. However, both of these represent independent risk factors for an increase in fall risks. Research has now shown that gait is no longer viewed as an automated motor activity. Gait in it of itself requires higher order executive functioning and attention to the environment. It requires the person to have the ability to have the necessary judgment of internal and external cues to maintain gait sequencing and balance.

        Gait impairments are still present  amongst older adults with or without the presence of a neurodegenerative condition. Nevertheless gait disorders are still a core clinical feature of those suffering from neurodegenerative disease. Cognition is important  for safe mobility in the home and in the community.

    Physical therapy is beginning to be viewed as a primary treatment method for those with neurodegenerative disease or mild cognitive impairments as a result of normal aging. 

    Three ways to lessen the risk of falls as cognitive function declines.

    1. Strength in the lower limbs

      1. Strength in the legs and hips can significantly reduce fall risk as well as injury from a fall. Gait abnormalities,as well as problems with balance static and dynamic increase as lower limb strength decreases. Muscular strength plays a vital component in maintaining balance.

    2. Tai Chi

      1. Studies have shown Tai Chi can provide postural reeducation, improve gait and balance and quality of life. Tai Chi can improve overall proprioception of where your body is in space. This is done by targeting the components of staying up right like leg strength, range of motion, and flexibility.

    3. Dual tasking

      1. Performing two tasks simultaneously will increase cognitive demand. For example walking while doing a cognitive activity such as math problems at the same time. This allows the brain to have to focus on attention demanding tasks together versus separately.

     

    Physical therapy can address the deficits of impairments in gait and balance. Physical therapy can address weakness in the lower limbs, there are therapeutic  versions of Tai Chi, and dual tasking can be integrated into each session. Studies show that exercise alone has shown to also improve cognitive performance. Therapeutic exercise that can be provided in physical therapy can address executive functioning, better attention to the environment, and begin to reduce overall fall risks.

    Would You Like To See A Physical Therapist For Free?

    We know that sometimes people want more than just a few tips. That’s why we offer expert advice about the worry and frustration of life-changing aches and pains through a FREE conversation with one of our Physical Therapists.

    Here are a few things you will experience in one of our free Discovery Visits

    1. A Doctor of Physical Therapy will perform a thorough history and examination of your injuries in order to see if Ried Physical Therapy would benefit you.  

    2. You will work 1-on-1 with a physical therapist for your entire visit.  

    3. An assessment of your home, sport, or work environment in order to locate the causes of your pains.

    Our Discovery Visits are great for anyone that may be “unsure” if physical therapy is right for them, and they give you the opportunity to ask questions and see for yourself if we can help you.   

    If you would like to speak with one of our physical therapists about what we can do for you, please contact our office at (817) 380-8077 and ask for a Discovery Visit appointment.

    We’re Here To Help…   

    If you’re in pain and would like to talk to us about getting some help, some specialist advice, or if you are looking for a diagnosis, remember we are always here to help you…. and we’re offering you the chance to have your first session with a physical therapist for FREE (with a discovery visit).   

    If you would like to book a discovery visit, please contact our office at (817) 380-8077 or select the “Get Started” menu option at the top of this webpage.

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