Proprioreception and Balance Essay

Propriorceception is essentially the ability to sense the position, alignment and movement of one’s body and its parts in space. For example, if your eyes were closed, you’d still know where your hands are without much thought due to proprioreception. Also when you are standing proprioreception allows you to be aware of where your limbs are and therefore you can make any necessary adjustments if you felt out of balance. This ability to know where your body parts are in 3-dimensional space is required for every movement we make.

However even with this encountered it is still often overlooked as one of the senses because it is so automatic and frequent that our conscious mind barely notices it. Proprioception is a third distinct sensory modality that responds solely on bodies’ internal status. It is the sense that indicates whether the body is moving with the required effort, as well as where the various parts of the body are located in relation to each other Our sense of balance requires constant contraction and relaxation of muscles.

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With mostly everything we do the cerebellum must receive constant input from our senses and make constant adjustments to the muscles to ensure balance maintenance. This is pretty much the role of propriorception, and it is usually done completely subconsciously. Without it, we would constantly need to watch our feet to make sure we stay balanced when walking. There are many inputs the cerebellum receives from the body that allows it to direct the muscles contractions that enable us to keep our balance.

The activation of a proprioreceptor in the periphery initiates proprioreception. The proprioreceptive sense is composed of information of sensory neurons located in the inner ear which send messages to the cerebellum about balance and equilibrium, Pressure receptors in the skin provide information about the relative amounts of pressure on parts of the body, and Stretch receptors in the muscles and joints give information on body movements and joint positions. All these inputs to the cerebellum allows it to direct muscle contractions that enable us to keep our balance.

After a conscious thought, to say, walk (in a balanced motion), nerve impulses travel to the skeletal muscles of the legs and stimulate neuromuscular junctions. This stimulation would release acetylcholine, which then travel across the gap to bind to the receptors on the motor end plate. This would result in more impulses that cause the muscles to contract. While all this was occurring, the inner ear would simultaneously be giving the cerebellum information about balance and movement; causing it to coordinate which muscles to contract and the strength of the contraction for the necessary movement. The impulses in which the cerebellum transmits along motor neurons result in the muscles achieving smooth, coordinated contractions as they pull on the bones they are attached.

BIBLIOGRAPHY:

• http://www. braininjury. org. au/sensory-motor/proprioception-fact-sheet • http://sportsmedicine. about. com/cs/conditioning/a/aa062200a. htm • http://wiki. answers. com/Q/How_does_proprioception_help_balance#ixzz1E2CGbXF5 • http://www. spaceflight. esa. int/users/index. cfm? act=default. page&level=15&page=1851 • http://www. coachr. org/proprio. htm