Proprioception and Stabilization

As you’ve already learned, proprioception is all about the awareness of your body’s position in space, but it also includes your ability to sense support from the ground you are standing on. It is this orientation to space and sense of a solid platform, that cues our subconscious to strategically align our posture and optimize our resistance to gravity.

Too often, there is a breakdown in both our perception of space and our sense of a secure base. When this occurs our sensorimotor system does whatever it needs to do to achieve a higher sense of stability.

This stabilization occurs when muscle groups activate and tense up to provide a secure base to serve as a fulcrum. This gives your nervous system a sense of security and leverage for whatever other body part you’re wanting to move.

Think about opening a door. For the door to swing open, one side of it needs to be stable, to create the fulcrum, or hinge, so that the knob side can move. Without a stable hinge the whole door could come crashing down!

This is exactly how bending forward at the hips is supposed to work. In fact, we actually call this movement, the “hip hinge!”

The quads, hamstrings, glutes, and most importantly deep core muscles all tense up to stabilize the pelvis and low back so that you can fold over at the hips without disrupting the alignment of the spine.

In general, these deep core muscles not only maintain our posture, they also create the safety and stability we need to move properly.

It has been observed that when our sensorimotor system is well adapted and we feel secure with our base of support, our posture and movement is expressed in an open and powerful appearance.  But if not, we tend to overcompensate by contracting our deep core muscles in a way that expresses a protective defense posture that closes down and weakens the appearance of our bodies.

This overcompensation creates pressure both on our joints and our internal organs.  It also compromises our ability to not only move well but adapt to challenges that life throws our way.

One of my professors in Chiropractic school used to say that our range of motion was relative to our range of emotion…and vice versa!

This pattern of internal closing is due to our never-ending attempt to seek stability in our life. Whether it is a dysfunctional movement system or emotional turmoil that has us feeling unstable, the result is the same, an exaggeration in the energy used to create stability in the body.

Think about how quickly you tense up if you slip, even just a little on a slick floor, and also…think about how tense you feel if you’re going through a break-up or are late with a deadline.

Do you know what else demands stability? Pain!  When we hurt the first instinct we have typically is to grab the area in pain. This is a strategy to immobilized and stabilize the area involved.  Simultaneously,  the deep core muscles will also begin to subconsciously lockdown in an attempt to stabilize the whole movement system and avoid pain.

One other point to make here is that this same strategy to deal with pain and instability occurs in response to both real and perceived threats! Physical threats and yes, believe it or not, emotional ones.  Whether it was a previous motor vehicle accident or an abusive partner, you may still be suffering from the tension you created and conditioned as a protective coping mechanism many years ago.

Over the years these maladaptations derail our posture and the quality of our movement. By closing down and weakening our integrity to gravity our bodies literally get shorter and hardened this dysfunctional stabilization. Our range of motion and emotion both suffer as we lose the battle to gravity.

The good news is…this process can be reversed. Stick with us at Chiropractic Solutions and we will show you how…

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