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February 14, 2011

Proprio-what? Proprioception.

We at Moriarty Chiropractic take the entire body into consideration for your chiropractic care; including proprioception. This unfamiliar word comes from Latin meaning, "one's own perception." Proprioception is a distinct sensory modality guided by receptors in our skin to give feedback as to where our body parts are in relation to one another, and the needed movements to accomplish simple tasks. The main area where proprioception is used is in maintaining your sense of balance.

What's the relationship between chiropractic care and proprioception? As we age, or are affected by back pain, our sense of balance diminishes. Weak balance can result in unwanted falls ending in back pain. Moriarty Chiropractic stands ready to help Nashua patients to improve their proprioception.

When considering back pain, impairments in proprioception may be diagnosed 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 painful 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 Nashua, try these proprioception exercises if your Moriarty Chiropractic doctor thinks they are in your best interest and discuss other ways to improve and enhance your proprioception. Contact Moriarty Chiropractic to discuss any proprioceptive issues that you notice so that we may set a course together to address those concerns.