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April 17, 2019
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Why do I need Proprioception?

Blue Heron Chiropractic Portland Rehabilitation Wobble Board

Wobble Boards can be used for Proprioceptive Training.

What is Proprioception?

If you are recovering from an injury and haven’t heard of a Rocker or Wobble Board, you might not have gotten the full picture. If you are already doing a rack of “Core” exercises but haven’t touched “Proprioception”,  you are only getting half of what you deserve. Likewise, if you want to do some Core – to start developing central strength and injury resistance – Proprioception is an easy add. Basically, Proprioception is perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body. The way that you know when your arm is raised above your head, even when our eyes are closed, is an example of proprioception. Likewise, your ability to sense slant of the surface you are standing upon, even when you are not looking at the surface, is proprioception. If the surface suddenly tilts, you will probably make a move to accommodate, so you don’t fall. Do you ever actually “practice” or “train” how to move your body?

How does Proprioception work?

In your body, there are sensory receptors which act as proprioceptors in muscles, joint capsules and surrounding tissues, that signal information to the central nervous system about positions and movements of body parts, for example the angle of bend at a joint or the length of a muscle. Accordingly, these sensors constantly adjust tension of muscles and tone at a joint to keep you ready to interact with your environment. This is actually the entire focus of your “Core”. Your Core is constantly using proprioceptive data to make your movements effective, strong, safe and productive. Practicing this type of challenge actively engages your Core in a real-world way.

How Can Proprioception Help Me?

Basically, you can’t do without it. Have you ever seen a surfer jump up onto their surfboard and just “go” down a wave? Or a person walk across ice as though it wasn’t slippery at all?  While some people have natural proprioception, there are ways that you can train this up and strengthen your core at the same time.  If you have frequent re-injuries like recurrent ankle twists or times that you “move your body wrong”, this is a very important component to a fitness plan. At Blue Heron Chiropractic, our intention is to help you “recover” to even better than before.

A Quick Proprioceptive Case Detail

Patient is a forest-path walker and elliptical trainer who frequently turns her ankle when wearing clogs. In October, she misjudged a step and forcibly inverted her ankle (turned it in) creating a sprain of the anterior talofibular ligament in the lateral ankle. There’s some other stuff going on as well. After getting her a diagnostic ultrasound, we are rehabbing her with wobble boards (like the one in the picture) and a Bosu Ball, Resistance Bands, Cold Laser, and Kinesio tape, as well as other cool strategies.  She is stepping on and off the Wobble Board to strengthen the core aspects of her ankle mechanisms. Note, we are also considering stem cells and Platelet-Rich-Plasma prolotherapy. Want to hear about more? You know what to do.

A Home Proprioceptive Experience without the Props

In order to get this experience you will need a helper for this one. You and I may have even done this one at Blue Heron Chiropractic. I don’t recommend doing this one standing, necessarily, as I can’t see your status at the moment. If you can kneel down, do so now, kneeling down on the floor. You will hold your arms up as if to catch yourself. When ready, close your eyes and your helper will nudge you first from the left side and then the right. You will push back against them to keep from falling over. They can try to test you by mixing up side-to-side. By the way, if you can’t stay upright on this one, let’s talk about it in an appointment.

So How Will We add Proprio to My Plan?

At Blue Heron, we have Rocker Boards, Wobble Boards, PT Balls, Mini-Trampolines, Training Balls and Theraband Resistance Bands. We know how to blend these tools into exercise plans that work. We will do some tests, and add what we learn to the arsenal of information we have about your joints. Speaking about “deep Core”, we will direct your treatment plan and expand your exercises. Add chiropractic manipulative therapy and watch the results! Let’s talk about it in an appointment.

Blue Heron Chiropractic specializes in therapies for both old and new pain,  addressing vitality, and assisting Motor Vehicle Accident and Work Injury recovery. If you have questions about how Dr. Dana Sibilla and Chiropractic can help you, or about exercise, optimal function, pain or pain management, schedule an appointment today.

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