My Mom (92) has recently had problems with falling backwards... She was actually holding onto her walker when she said she felt herself falling backwards without any warning. Her doc believes it could be related to a certical problem (or the artery in the back of her neck - not the carotids - is blocked). The doc balked at having an MRI done, because "there wouldn't be anything to do about it & it tends just to freak people out & make them fearful of "stroking out". Any thoughts/info? I found an article online on this, which was called Backward Disequilibrium - "BD" - but her doc just cut me off as soon as I mentioned the source & said "you can find anything online, so let's not go there!"
But I'd want to know if there are other possible causes for the problem, and whether any of them are treatable. How could those alternate causes (if there are any) be tested for?
I guess that is where your internet research comes in. Are there reputable sources that list other causes and more importantly other treatments?
Im sure that getting a label for this problem is not your goal. You just want to know what can be done to keep Mom from falling over backwards, right? If your resarch (including posting your question here) gives you reason to think this might be treatable, depending on the cause, then getting a second opinion makes a lot of sense.
The authors are geriatricians, internists and a neurologist. Hardly an anonymous person mouthing off about something they know nothing about.
I found this article to be informative and probitive. Yes, you will have to look up a lot of medical terms to get the most out of it.
What it lacks is specific recommendations for therapy. My Mother is 87 and has just started falling backwards recently. This started shortly after there was a major change in her posture - she leans severely to the right when sitting, standing and walking, with or without her walker and is hunched way over. All of that started about 2 months after she fell backwards and fractured her sacrum, which caused severe pain.
In addition to an understanding of what causes this, we need to be able to do things that will help our parents who have this problem. We need to be reassuring, encouraging, kind and patient. Even if there is no improvement, imagine how it must feel like to be at least trying to do something about your bewildering and scary falls. My mother has kind, loving nurses aides who would faithfully carry out any instructions for physical therapy that might help her.
She is beyond being able to comprehend what a physical therapist is asking her to do. She had one or 2 good ones, but the others were impatient when she did not progress as quickly as a younger person would. My heart goes out to the last poster who;s therapist recommended that her mother's therapy be discontinued. Therapy shouldn't just take place in a therapy facility. Physical therapy needs to include providing the patient with things to do at home, whether there is significant improvement or not.
So what will I be doing about my Mom's problem? I will not be hauling her around to a lot of different specialists or subjecting her to a lot of tests that provide no direct benefit in terms of alleviating her condition. It seems like we are all agreed on that point. I will take her to her orthopedist, who has handled her sacral fractures and let him observe the changes in her posture.
So. We have no definitive treatment or even a complete understanding of what is going on. I alleviate my own frustration and anxiety by reading and trying to understand. I am going to press the orthopedist hard for things to do that will at least make things no worse or cause harm.
And if you want your doctor to pay attention to an article you feel may be important to your parent's care or treatment, make a copy of it and take it with you to the appointment.
Bless you all for caring.
And I have to agree it takes someone special to do a good job with a less cooperative patient in therapy - we see that when "grown-up" PT or OT tries to work with young kids too, they don't know how to cajole or play along and get people to do what they need them to do if they don't follow verbal commands, and that's a shame because good therapy can increase strength and function and reduce pain substantially. Sitting still and letting muscles weaken is about the worst thing you can do for arthritic joints, yet that's what most of our elder's instinctively do when a joint hurts!
I would be interested in knowing if anyone else has observed this.
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