by James A. Heuer, PA
Proprioception, simplified, is disturbed balance. Proprioception is how a person knows the position of the body, the location of their legs or arms, and how their head is held. It is the awareness of where the body is, and it is learned throughout a person’s lifespan. As muscles strengthen, they also gain proprioception. Think of a baby when they first learn to hold up their heads. It starts out a wobbly action, and strengthens over time, continuing to be refined.
Issues with proprioception can lead to balance problems, difficulty walking and sitting, poor posture, and trouble climbing stairs or walking on uneven surfaces.
Located in the inner ear, the proprioceptive system consists of information from sensory neurons. The inner ear controls motion and orientation. The stretch receptors located in the muscles and joint supporting ligaments control stance.
Movements become an automatic ability as a sense organ. It is important for the motor and balance of the body. Movements continue to be refined as skills and abilities increase, although aging can cause issues to arise. Balance and coordination impairment can prevent proper walking and other movements. This is referred to as cerebellar ataxia. A crucial factor that needs to be treated, this condition creates disability and risk of falls.
That being said, post traumatic brain injury can cause a high risk of falling due to poor balance. This risk can lead to more serious injuries such as broken bones. Daily activities such as self-care tasks including bathing, getting dressed, and using the restroom may be affected. With proprioception issues, one may be unable to work or drive.
Along with balance and motion, vision and visual perception may be disturbed. I discuss with my clients any visual concerns they may be experiencing. I recommend they seek out an ophthalmologist for a comprehensive eye exam to assess for any ocular injuries.
Whether the TBI was due to a car accident, a fall, or any other head trauma, as an attorney, I recommend an assessment by a licensed healthcare professional to address my client’s symptoms. These professionals include but are not limited to physicians, physiatrists for rehabilitation, neurologists, and physical therapists.
James A. Heuer, PA is a personal injury attorney helping individuals with TBI after suffering one himself, he is located in Minneapolis, Minnesota.