Proprioception is the sense of joint of which signals the brain where the body part is in space.
Proprioception is managed subconsciously so it’s difficult to understand the concept..
The proprioception is usually hampered when joints are injured, such as with ligament sprains. Once the proprioception of joint is lost after a sprain or any acute injury, the individual may experience instability of the joint. Recurrent injuries and deformation are common after loss of proprioception. Over a period of time biomechanical faults occur which may give rise to other problems at a joint.
The most common symptom of reduced proprioception is poor balance. In this respect, most people can understand the concept that poor balance can be a result of poor proprioception. A good posture is a result of proper proprioception senses of the spinal joint and ligaments which helps to balance the body in upright position in sitting and standing. Rounded shoulder and forward head posture, slouched midback, forward stooping are results of impaired proprioception initially later develop into fixed deformity.
An acute injury has the potential to decrease the proprioception and subsequently the balance. However, proprioception and balance exercises can help to regain the same. A physiotherapist can be of immense help in achieving it back.
Proprioception / Balance Exercises
Proprioceptive and balance exercises challenges the joints ability to adjust in a compromised position to reeducate the body to control the position.
A common example of a proprioceptive or balance exercise is the use of wobble board in cases of ankle sprain. The slight to and fro movement of wobble board in response to body weight produces unpredicted movement to which body quickly reacts without having to think about these movements helping regain the proprioceptive senses.
It is this natural balance and proprioceptive reactions to wobbly movement that attempts to retrain the balance consciously which later is transmitted to subconscious state. A quality subconscious proprioception and balance system is important in everyday life and particularly in sport.
Proprioception exercises are designed to improve the proprioception feedback circle.
The brain sends signals to either contract or relax the muscles. The joints movement response is detected by the sensory nervous system and reported back to the brain for fine tuning and improvement with repetition of the process.
In other words, practicing a movement several times will eventually mean proprioception perfection.
The injuries to shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle or spine have specific proprioception exercise programme. Consult a trusted physiotherapist to know more about your injury and specific proprioception exercises for it, as it is an integral part of complete rehabilitation.