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Falling forward

I'm accustomed to leaning back after being in a wheelchair for 10 years. I've been walking with a walker for 6 years. I'm trying to walk unassisted again, but I can't get the sensation to fall forward. Does anyone have any advice for that?

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Answer transcribed from the Brightway Answers interview with recreation therapist Holly Auth:

Before anything else, I just want to say congratulations.  Using a wheelchair and then using a walker is a major accomplishment, so congratulations.

I think it's awesome that you're trying to start walking unassisted. It sounds like you might need to strengthen your core as well as your back muscles.  It's difficult to know exactly where the problem is without being able to see you and how you’re walking.  Definitely talk to your physical therapist - they have the knowledge base of exactly what is going on and ways to assist with the problem.

As a recreation therapist, I would take the information from your physical therapist and I would use that during my recreation activities. For example, (this is a little bit of a different scenario) but for someone who is working on standing and strengthening their legs and their posture, I would typically set them up somewhere with a counter height table. Maybe it's at the kitchen counter, maybe it's one of those floating desks that can lift up.  So while you’re standing, I would set them up with something like a word search, coloring, cards - their preferred activity so they're engaging in something they like to do while they're working on standing and strengthening.

People will often stand a lot longer than they realize and break their previous records because their mind is distracted with something they enjoy. So as a recreation therapist I would take into consideration what your physical therapist is saying, and then I would do some fun activities while your physical therapist’s recommended exercises.