Proprioception / prə(ʊ)prɪəˈsɛpʃn / PRO-pree-o-SEP-shun / from Latin proprius, meaning “one’s own” and perception / noun / PHYSIOLOGY / perception or awareness of the position and movement of the body.
Today we’re going to talk & learn about proprioception 👩🏼🎓
Yep, I’d never heard of it either until last week when the [EDS] specialist explained it and told me mines knackered because of the Ehlers.
So, what is it?
Well, proprioception, which is sometimes referred to as a sixth sense, is the medical term that describes what allows us to move quickly and freely without having to consciously think about where we are in space, and/or the environment. (thanks Google)
It’s a continuous feedback loop within our nervous system that tells our brain (internal senses) what position it is in, where the different parts of our body are, how they are moving, and how much strength our muscles need to use. (thanks again Google)
Proprioception examples >
- Closing our eyes and still being able to touch our nose with our index finger.
- Walking/jogging/running without having to look at our feet.
- Automatic sensing on how much pressure to apply to the gas/brake pedal when driving.
- Throwing a ball in the air and keeping your eye on the ball, but still being able to catch it without looking at your hand.
Now, if our proprioception becomes impaired/dysfunctional, it makes many of our daily actions much more difficult, which in turn, can have a considerable impact on our day-to-day lives.
Impaired proprioception examples >
- Having trouble balancing/frequent falls while walking or sitting.
- Clumsy/uncoordinated movements.
- Dropping/bumping into things.
- Pressing down too hard when writing/not being able to gauge the force needed to pick something up/put something down.
- Avoiding certain movements or activities – ie: climbing stairs or walking on uneven surfaces because of a fear of falling.
Some of the causes that can impair proprioception >
- Brain Injuries/Stroke
- Multiple Sclerosis/Parkinson’s/Huntington’s/ALS
- Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome
- Autism Spectrum Disorder
- Joint sprains (such as ankle/knee)
- Herniated discs/Arthritis/Joint replacement
- Peripheral Neuropathy
Can it be fixed?
Yes and no. I don’t know all of the technical ins-and-outs as I’m still learning about it myself, but with what I’ve read so far, and depending on what’s impairing it [?] physio/balance exercises can/will improve it.
And that my M.I.T.M friends – wraps up today’s lesson on proprioception 🎓🤩
Now, although it’s a new symptom/label/diagnosis added to the list of others, I have to say that I’m very, VERY happy with this one!
All of my life, especially now as I’m getting older, having impaired proprioception explains all of the weird things my body does – which let me tell you – is a HUGE relief!
I’m forever tripping over nothing/something, I’m always misjudging and walking into door frames/corners of walls/furniture, I often stumble when I sit down/get up from a table, dropping things is my daily normality, I always manage to trip when going UP the stairs (and have to be extremely careful) and standing on 1 leg to put pants/shoes on always results in a pretty good wibble-wobble 🥴
Oh and this is a bloody cracker, but according to my husband > I stomp my feet when I walk, trying to grab something from me when I’m passing it to him is not an easy task, AND he’s been moving things out of my way without me even knowing about it 😱
FYI, I didn’t know about any of this until last week when we saw the specialist (😲) so as you can imagine – I was like WTF [?] and also a ‘tad’ annoyed that he’d never told me.
Turns out he’d noticed I was tripping a lot more than usual, so for the past couple of years he’s been moving things like shoes, cat toys, power cords, etc to try and keep my trips to a minimum 😍
He also demonstrated what it’s like when I pass things to him, but he never thought to say anything as it was just ‘normal’ for me, and he didn’t realise that it was a symptom of something medical – which is fair enough.
SO, I’m over the bloody moon with my latest label + it’s great to have an actual ‘something’ to tell people now instead of trying to convince them that > NO I haven’t been drinking, and/or NO I’m not drunk – especially when I don’t even drink alcohol 😤
I hope everyone out there in cyberspace is having a great weekend!
Hugs / Peace Out! Essie ❣