Proprioception; Our Balance and Health.

What does proprioception mean? It means the ability to sense stimuli arising within the body regarding position, motion, and equilibrium. Even if a person is blindfolded, he or she knows through proprioception if an arm is above the head or hanging by the side of the body. In short, proprioception refers to your sense of body position in your surroundings. An example would be walking in the dark in your house. Even though you can't see, you know where you are at all times. That is your proprioceptive system working.

Now if we look into our body posture and balance, we are talking about the connections of our central nervous system, the peripheral nervous system, the eyes, the ears, and the musculoskeletal system, where proprioceptor and mechanoreceptor sensory organs lie. Defects in any of these tissues can lead to diminished postural function and increased instability, and eventually to trauma from falling. There is evidence that multiple factors can adversely affect the postural mechanism and that these factors are cumulative (1). Faulty proprioceptive mechanisms may be one of the causes of the chiropractic subluxation in our patients. Proprioception, equilibrium, and balance are at the core of human functioning.

According to O’Sullivan et al. (2), “Proprioceptive deficit may lead to delayed neuromuscular protective reflexes and coordination such that muscle contraction occurs too late to protect the joint from excessive joint movement. It has been hypothesized that this may lead to abnormal loading transmitted repetitively across joint surfaces, resulting in pain and articular damage.”

In short, what the author is trying to convey is simple; with poor proprioception --> we have a weak/delayed activation and control over our muscle/reflexes --> this poor control, leads to a higher joints injuries, as well as wear and tear.

Correct the Cause with Chiropractic

Conditions such as headache/migraine, shoulder pain, neck pain, tingling/numbness sensation down the arms and legs, lower back pain, lethargic/ tiredness, may potentially be associated with a lack of balance in our nervous system as well as the alignment of our spine. As we already know, physical misalignment is a biomechanical problem, medication/drugs (chemicals) made in the lab, may not address biomechanical issues adequately.

We may check the alignment of our car, once or twice per year, when is the last time we have a proper spinal examination done?

Reference: 1. Wolfson, L., Whipple, R, Derby, C A et al. A dynamic posturography study of balance in health elderly. Neurology 1992;42:2069-2075. 2. O’Sullivan PB, Burnett A, Floyd AN, Gadsdon K, Logiudice J, Miller D, Quirke H. Lumbar repositioning deficit in a specific low back pain population. SPINE 2003; 28 (1): 1074-1079

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