February 14, 2011

Proprio-what? Proprioception.

We at Young Chiropractic take all factors into consideration for your chiropractic care; including proprioception. This strange word comes from Latin meaning, "one's own perception." Proprioception is a distinct sensory modality guided by receptors in our skin to let us know where our body parts are in relation to one another, and the effort needed to accomplish simple tasks. One area of importance where proprioception is used is in maintaining your sense of balance.

How are proprioception and chiropractic care related? As we age, or suffer from back pain, our sense of balance diminishes. Poor balance can result in unwanted falls causing back pain. Young Chiropractic stands ready to help Easley patients to improve their proprioception.

In the case of back pain, impairments in proprioception may be assessed with a motion perception threshold measure (1). With aging, you might find yourself not "tracking" correctly. This results in losing your balance, missing your step, or just tripping. Such situations put you at risk for a nasty fall that could cause an injured arm, leg, or broken hip.

Fortunately, proprioception can be improved. Many proprioception exercises are available, for all ages, to achieve and maintain strong balance; ultimately helping to prevent falls. One example is the learning of Tai Chi practices. Tai Chi has been reported to improve body balance in over 80% of men aged 60 to 82 (2). If Tai Chi is not for you, here are other exercises to try requiring only a few minutes each day to perform; tandem walking and balancing on one foot.

Tandem walking involves walking in a heel-to-toe fashion either forward or backward. Balancing on one foot should involve a bracing, stable object like a counter-top or wall. Both of these exercises, if properly performed, can improve proprioception. 

In Easley, try these proprioception exercises if your Young Chiropractic doctor thinks they are in your best interest and discuss other ways to improve and enhance your proprioception. Contact Young Chiropractic to discuss any proprioceptive issues that you notice so that we may set a course together to address those concerns.