Are you concerned about poor balance? Do you have trouble standing or sitting up straight? Do you seem to trip over nothing while walking?
Two complex and complementary systems in the body help us maintain good posture when seated, standing or moving and help keep us steady on our feet whether still or in motion.
The vestibular system in our body gives feedback to our central nervous system that allows us to know where we are in space. In the shortest terms, it’s what keeps us upright. This sensory system includes the inner ear, labyrinthine system, and the integration with our cerebellum and midbrain.
Our balance system includes the somatosensory system, vestibular system, and the visual system in the body. The somatosensory system includes sensory information from our muscles, joint receptors and deep pressure sensors in our feet. The information this system relays to us is called proprioception and is delivered to the central nervous system.
Our balance and vestibular systems work together to improve and maintain our posture. In the somatosensory system, proprioception—knowing your place in space–is vital in maintaining postural alignment while you move and when you’re static (standing or sitting still). Postural stability is sometimes referred to as balance, or the ability to maintain your gravity over your feet, your base of support.
Standing balance, or maintaining an upright posture against gravity, results from an equilibrium of forces throughout the skeletal muscle system. Proper proprioception input from your joints and muscles is critical in maintaining postural stability through your somatosensory system, visual and vestibular systems.
If you have concerns about balance or posture, at Back 2 Normal we can design and lead you through a series of exercises that address proprioception to improve your balance and prevent falls at home and as you go about your daily life.
Contributing Author: Kirsten Snellenburg, LMT, MPT, DPT, Physical Therapist, Vestibular and Visceral Specialist
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