Proprioception & Balance Exercises

Proprioception & Balance Exercises

Article by John Miller

What is Proprioception?

Proprioception is the sense of knowing where your body part is in space.

This can be a difficult concept to grasp until you lose it, because so much proprioception occurs subconsciously.

Your proprioception capabilities can be impaired when joints are injured, such as with ligament sprains.  When you lose proprioception of your joint after a sprain, you may experience an unstable sensation of the joint. Your joint may even give-out.

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. However, even your spinal posture has a proprioception component telling you whether or not you are sitting or standing upright. Good posture, for example, could be thought of as perfect spinal balance!

Every injury has the potential to decrease your proprioception and subsequently your balance. However, you can quickly improve both your proprioception and balance with proprioception and balance exercises. That’s where your physiotherapist is an expert and can help you.

What are Proprioception / Balance Exercises?

Proprioceptive and balance exercises teach your body to control the position of a deficient or injured joint. A typical example of a  proprioceptive or balance training is the use of a balance or wobble board after an ankle sprain.

The unpredictable movements of the balance board re-educate your body to quickly react to the wobbly movements without having to think about these movements.

Your natural balance and proprioceptive reactions that we are attempting to retrain make the transition from a conscious to a subconscious state. Quality subconscious proprioception and balance system is essential in everyday life and particularly in sport.

Elite athletes are not thinking about how to stay balanced as they pass or kick a ball. That all happens automatically behind the scenes. The best athletes can then elevate their performance by focusing on what they plan to do with the ball and performing that match-winning skill rather than wasting their mental power on just staying upright.

How Does Your Proprioception or Balance Improve?

Proprioception exercises are designed to improve your proprioception feedback circle.

In simple terms, your brain sends electrical contract or relaxation messages to your muscles. Your sensory nervous system detects your joint movement response and reports back to your brain for fine-tuning and improvement with repetition of the process.

In other words, perfect practise will eventually mean proprioception perfection.

There are hundreds of injury specific proprioception and balance exercises, whether your injury is your shoulder, elbow, hip, knee, ankle or spine.

It is best to see your trusted physiotherapist ensuring that you are doing the right things at the right time and not disrupting tissue repair. It is possible to commence advanced proprioception or balance exercises too early, which can be detrimental to your rehabilitation outcome.

Can Your Balance Be Improved?

Yes! You Can Improve Your Balance.

The research has confirmed for many years that balance retraining works. It can also take only a few weeks of progressed balance exercises to improve or normalise your balance and corrective reactions.

You can perform simple exercises initially, such as standing on one leg with eyes open and progress to eyes closed. Still, after that, the best way to improve your balance is to exercise on an unstable surface.

For more information about balance assessment and retraining, don't hesitate to contact your physiotherapist.

What Are The Best Exercises to Prevent Falls?

Preventing falls is one of the upsides of improving your balance. Fall prevention exercises should safely improve your strength, balance and righting reactions.

Your physiotherapist will assess you and prescribe a safe and appropriate series of fall prevention exercises for you to progress as you improve.

Would you please seek their advice?

Balance Enhancement Products:

Over the years, there have been numerous devices developed to assist clinicians in improving their clients' balance. This has dramatically reduced the incidence of ankle and knee ligament sprains and, at the same time, enhances the athlete's performance. In your own home, these balance devices can be used by you to improve your balance and reduce your injury chance or eliminate your joint pain.

Article by Shane Armfield

Common Causes of Vertigo & Dizziness

Dizziness & Vertigo FAQs

Due to the complex diagnostic skills required to diagnose the cause of your vertigo or dizziness accurately, we highly recommend seeking the professional opinion of a healthcare practitioner with a particular interest in assessing and managing vestibular disorders.

The internet is full of potentially unreliable information. Please source trusted healthcare information from reputable websites such as the following.

https://www.health.gov.au/

https://australian.physio/

https://www.ama.com.au/

British Medical Journal

https://www.mayoclinic.org/

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/

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