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Taking the plunge no more...

jay911jjay911 Posts: 540
edited 06/11/2012 - 8:30 AM in Chronic Pain
So I've had at least three episodes where I've lost my balance in the last week. Once I fell at work (my butt still hurts a little) and the other two I nearly fell at home. I've felt that I've had a balance problem for a while now, and I'm wondering if I should start thinking about getting a cane. I read Ming's recent post and I'm wondering what factors have caused others to take the plunge? Wait, maybe that's a wrong choice of words....

Anyway, what would warrant one? And at what point have you decided to buy one? Like I mentioned above I do feel like I have balance issues and with the sciatica in my left leg I know that I don't feel the ground the same as I do on my right side. I don't know if it would be helpful for me or not.
Thanks for your input


  • Hi buddy.

    I'm sorry you've been having balancing issues. In my humble opinion, any risk of falling warrants using a cane. I really don't think it's worth weighing pros and cons, it's just necessary sometimes.

    My hubby had a terrible bout of gout a year or so ago and he never hesitated using a cane. And looking at the really bright side of it, maybe using a cane will rest your leg/back enough to let it get better and you won't need it after a while.

    Just my thoughts, my friend.
  • I found that using a cane allowed me to rely on it too much for balance. When I got rid of the cane it forced me to learn to compensate for the balance issues. I also got physical therapy for vestibular issues, which made all the world of difference. I had to retrain my brain to balance despite the problem that caused the imbalance.

    I hope that makes sense. Basically I was not ready to embrace relying on a cane or walker. I figured it was worth the battle to see if I could learn to compensate. I won the battle and was able to begin driving again as well as walking with confidence and a stronger stride.

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  • If you are thinking about a cane so you can do your walking program more safely, you might want to get a pair of "walking poles." Not only are they the latest craze in fitness circles but they provide an upper body work-out and you will burn more calories than regular walking...and, of course, they will help a lot to keep you upright!!

    I bought a folding cane that folds down to about 10". I keep it in the car and if I am having a bad time, I just pull it out and use it for awhile. Just be sure to pull up some info on the internet so you know you are using it properly, carrying it on the proper side to aide your condition, etc.
  • i would never have thought of that, but it's a great idea. jay, here's a link to what gwennie was talking about.


    and here's an exerpt of the text on this site:

    "a single walking stick, pole, or staff can give you stability, especially on loose terrain or in crossing streams. it also can relieve stress on the joints. a staff can also give you a measure of security - attackers are more likely to go annoy somebody who doesn't have a stick."

    now i'm thinking of getting one so an attacker won't annoy me. :))(

  • To be honest I hadn't thought about the fitness side of things, currently I'm limited to doing core exercises without weights (exercise ball, bands, those sorts of things). I also do recumbent bike and very short walks on treadmill which has the all important hand rails. I've done two rounds of PT, each time we worked on balance and really made no improvement. I even have problems with some of the simple core exercises - gotta hang on to something.

    I am thinking more about just general mobility concerns. C, I have wondered how much of a dependence is built up after prolonged use. I can say that when I accompany my wife at the store I always push the shopping cart, we joke about that being my walker. And it does help some. I also wonder if it would help me walk longer distances, after a half mile I'm wiped out & gotta lie down.

    Luckily I've only fallen once, you should have seen the hubbub here at work! The other times I was at home: lost my footing going up the stairs and fell forward (thankfully!) and just got twisted around walking around the bed in my bedroom. I think my wife has noticed things aren't right either, she is always asking me if I'm doing okay.

    I leave in a couple hours for my next doctor's appointment and will be asking him the same questions, actually I've got a big laundry list...
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  • I use a cane too because I have busted my ... one too many times due to my leg going out when I least expect it (I have permanent nerve damage). If you do get one, make sure it is adjusted at the right height and you use it on the opposite side of your bad leg. My PT adjusted the height for me and taught me the right way to "walk" with it. I felt funny using it at first, but at least I know I'm doing it right :) Take care
  • Hello Jay -

    Took the plunge early last Summer already and using the cane helps a great deal with weight-bearing, taking some of the load off of my back/neck/hips...kind of acting like yet another leg. :)

    I'm only 46 and I'm in good health generally and don't look my age (or so most people that know me say)...so I really don't give a hoot what strangers might think of "the cane". It's enabled me to walk the Zoo or anywhere else we might go as a family for longer periods without having to stop and rest so often...and the kids sure do appreciate that.

    So I say, bite-the-bullet and pick yourself up one...there's all kinds of styles, colors, etc. so you can find one that "fits" your look. I'd be willing to bet that in no time...you'll be glad you did.

  • I use a cane also for walks. It`s a good support although I was able to walk without one the last walk. I`m glad you`ll mention it to your Dr about you`re falling. Take care. Charry
    DDD of lumbar spine with sciatica to left hip,leg and foot. L4-L5 posterior disc bulge with prominent facets, L5-S1 prominent facets with a posterior osteocartilaginous bar. Mild bilateral foraminal narrowing c-spine c4-c7 RN
  • I had to break down and start using a cane all the time after falling and cracking a rib for the second time. I have had more than 2 falls. Actually I have lost count.
    My balance sucks plus I need a total knee replacement, it goes out on me a lot and down I go. I injured my knee a few years ago and have babied it along with injections but they no longer work.
    For saftey reasons I never walk outside without my cane anymore. I also removed things I could trip over in my house. That has helped a lot. When I fall I can't get up by myself and must lay thare until someone comes along to help me up. I live alone so I must be very careful.
    Do what you think is best for you.
    Best of luck
    Patsy W
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