Proprioception – The Bodies Sixth Sense

A child can adapt and function normally without the sense of sight or sound, but will struggle even with a weak sense of proprioception.
Proprioception, is our bodies ability to use muscle and joint control and balance to resist gravity. Furthermore it is also the greatest sensory stimulus for brain growth because, unlike all other sensory stimulation, it occurs constantly 24/7.

Children with developmental delays may often be quite clumsy and find quite simple actions more challenging because they don’t feel their bodies well; they don’t have a sense of themselves in space. This is a sign of a proprioception problem.

NASA scientists discovered this during their research into the effects of zero gravity in space on the brain finding that astronauts often came back from missions with mental processing problems similar to children with diagnosed learning disabilities. They concluded that the lack of stimulation provided by gravity lead to a significant degeneration of brain cells.
It is not hard to realize the importance of movement for not only general health but also for the stimulation it provides to our brain and nervous system. Nowhere is this more important than in the growing child who requires this form of stimulation to aid in the development of their brain. Think of movement as being healthy nourishment for the brain and sitting still like sugar for your teeth!
When a chiropractor performs a spinal adjustment they are stimulating proprioceptors in the spinal joints and muscles. This stimulation is novel and different to that typically experienced through exercise or other daily activity. The activation of proprioceptors in the spine creates a novel stimulus to the central nervous system to provide pain relief, muscle relaxation and improved movement.
A great way to test your own propriocetion is balancing on one leg with your eyes closed. You should be able to do this quite comfortably for at least 30 seconds, and this should be the same compared with the other foot. If this is not the case this means that you have a greater chance of ankle injury (sprains) as well as falling over in a low light setting such as during the night.
Try balancing on your “bad” side multiple times through the day, and as these pathways will become more and more effective and improve. Not only is this an important rehabilitation tool for ankle sprains, it will also help you to prevent injury with better feedback from your ankles.