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Movement & Balance
How do I know if there’s something wrong with my movement or balance?
Firstly, there’s nothing ‘wrong’ with your movement or balance – everyone moves differently, and there’s no one perfect way to move. What we’re trying to do is get your visual, vestibular and proprioceptive systems to work together as efficiently as possible. This can improve your balance, make you less likely to re-injure yourself, and can help you move more smoothly and efficiently.
What are my vestibular and proprioceptive systems?
Your brain coordinates your movements based on input from three different systems. Your visual system (your eyes!) will show your brain where you are – it will also scan for hazards, so checking if there are things moving towards or away from you (and how big or threatening those things might be), whether you need to respond to dips in the ground or objects in your way. Your vestibular system is based on your inner ear and gives information about how you’re moving or holding your head. And finally your proprioceptive system is based in nerve endings in your joints, muscles and skin. Proprioceptors tell your brain about where your body is in space and in relation to the rest of you. Think about moving around in the dark, or being able to tap your nose with your eyes shut – you’re able to do that based on your proprioceptive system.
Is this the right treatment for me?
Maybe! Lots of people who recover from an injury find that they struggle to get back to the same level of fitness or performance afterwards, despite being pain free. Sometimes this is because they haven’t been through exercise rehabilitation, but sometimes it’s because the proprioceptive system hasn’t yet managed to recover after the injury, and it’s not able to relay information back to the brain in the same way it used to. Elizabeth works with people who have recovered from injuries but haven’t yet made it back to where they were, as well as people with dizziness, vertigo, brain injuries, chronic pain, travel sickness or even just clumsiness!
What does a movement and balance session involve?
After analysing what’s going on with your balance, Elizabeth prescribes a range of different treatments and neurological exercises to help you recalibrate your systems, and they’ll be different for everyone – but they’ll probably involve moving your body in one direction while simultaneously moving your eyes in a different one! Practice Manager Rachel tried out a session and wrote up her experience here.