What is Proprioception ?

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Every individual is unique in his behavior, ability and appearance. But the way our bodies and brain work are similar and we have many things which are common such as our reflexes and responses to a particular activity. But there are  times we come across people who cannot work as fast as normal people  or children who cannot put down the dictated words like their classmates. The reason is we have different rate times of response. All our reflexes are controlled by the nervous system and hence the speed with which we respond to the stimulus is also related to the brain.

 

What are the two important senses?

We are quite familiar with our regular senses like taste, smell, touch, hearing and sight. But along with these there are two very important senses which give instructions to our brain or nervous system. These are the proprioreceptive sense and vestibular sense. These two are the major senses which make us aware and acquainted about the world and the different activities  around us.

 

What is Proprioception?

All our tendons and muscles comprise of small receptors which are called as Proprioceptors. The term is derived from Latin word, meaning ‘one’s own’. Whenever we perform various activities like stretching our joints and compressing or contracting our muscles, a message is sent to our brain by these receptors. It relates to our brain, the organ which has been stretched and how much coercion is applied.

 

How does the brain sense movement?

The main function of proprioceptors is to inform our brain with all the activities being done by the body or in our body, which gives us a sense of feeling regarding the existence of our body. When you write down a letter, these little receptors tell our brain which letter is being jotted down and hence we do not need to look at the letter while we are writing. Due to this students can put down  all the matter from the blackboard without having to look at the copy again and again. In short proprioception is the ability of body to sense movement within joint position or joints. And these coordinated functioning of movements is possible because of proprioceptive system. Another important function of this system is to assist vestibular system in modulation.

 

How does proprioception contribute to our body scheme?

The proprioceptive contribution by our muscles and joints help assists our body system. Without these contributions we would not notice the whereabouts of our hands, legs or head. When we move the proprioreception tells our body scheme about the movements and due to this our brain can organize our further activities and can contract the joints and muscles at the right time successfully. There are children who have problems in integrating propriorecepiton system and hence their brains have confused body scheme.

 

Can the proprioception ability be regained?

When our joint gets damaged, or a ligament is partially or fully torn down, we can feel deficit in our propriorecptive ability. This decreases the person’s coordination ability and can make him more prone to re-injury. With the help of special exercises proprioceptive ability training can be given to the injured persons (mostly athletes) or be used even to train children so that there is some amount of coordination in their body scheme.

 

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