The term “proprioception” refers to the way joints are positioned. Proprioception training works on strengthening certain areas of the body, especially the core, in order to improve positional awareness.
The physical therapists at Step Ahead Physical Therapy in Cambridge and Marblehead are experts on balance, gait, and joint dysfunction, and can help you to make improvements through proprioception training at our clinic. For more information on how proprioception therapy can benefit you, contact Step Ahead Physical Therapy today!
How do we stay balanced?
There are three systems in your body that help to control your balance: The vestibular system, the visual system, and the proprioceptive system. All three of these symptoms work alongside each other so you can achieve optimum balance and strength. While proprioception training touches upon all three, it focuses most closely on the proprioceptive system.
The vestibular system refers to the liquid in your inner ear that functions as a sort of “carpenter’s balance,” in order to keep you level. If you’ve ever felt dizzy, it generally means that the liquid in the vestibular system is a little bit off-balance.
The visual system refers to the messages that your brain and eyes send to each other, in order to help you see. Your eyes send signals to your brain about your position in relation to the world around you.
The proprioceptive system is the one that involves your core. A weak core is one element that can make you feel off-balance and cause you to fall and sustain an injury. Proprioception nerves are sensory nerves that situate throughout the body. They make you aware of your posture and aware of spatial things around you. By strengthening the core through proprioceptive training, the sensory nerves are able to gain a better awareness of your posture, balance, and surroundings.
What is proprioception training?
Physiopedia outlines some common factors that can impact a person’s proprioception abilities.
Temporary impairment from a compromised state (for example the consumption of alcohol).
Age-related changes also affect proprioception. The risk of proprioception loss increases as we age due to a combination of natural age-related changes to the nerves, joints, and muscles.
Injuries or medical conditions that affect the neuromuscular system (muscles, nerves, and the cerebellum, CNS) which can cause long-term or permanent proprioception impairment.”
The good news is that proprioception training at Step Ahead Physical Therapy can help combat the impairments and changes that accompany these conditions.
Proprioception training focuses on strengthening the core to provide better stability and balance. Your Cambridge and Marblehead physical therapist can assess your condition or any joint/muscle related injuries that may be causing your issues, ask you questions about your health, and create a customized treatment plan that incorporates this method seamlessly.
Some common techniques that are used in proprioception training are balance exercises on balance boards, especially in cases where a patient has suffered an injury of the ankle or knee. They may also teach you how to perform single leg squats to engage knee and ankle proprioceptors and exercise the leg and glutes, cone pick-ups to challenge your balance while improving your strength, or crossover walk exercises if you’re recovering from a knee injury.
Your therapist may also recommend that you begin practicing upper extremity exercises such as push-ups, on stability discs to retrain proprioception abilities. Vibration therapy and joint repositioning training are also commonly used in physical therapy treatment plans.
Get started with proprioception training today
If you have a weak core or you’re struggling with balance, our Cambridge and Marblehead services at Step Ahead Physical Therapy can help! Contact our clinic today to schedule your consultation and get started on your path toward greater stability, strength, and balance.