Had an informal chat with my Doc.  He is recovering from a severe assault on the nerves in his lower body and re-learning to walk and do.  What happened to him occurred about 5 months after my wife’s stroke.  To an extent, he looks to her recovery as a measure of his own progress.  He brought up his own battle with “proprioception” – assuming that I would not really know what that is.  But – I do. 
 
My wife has been working on that aspect of her recovery from the get go.   The following is from Wikipedia:

Proprioception, from Latinproprius, meaning “one’s own”, “individual” and perception,s is the sense of the relative position of neighbouring parts of the body and strength of effort being employed in movement.[1] It is provided by proprioceptors in skeletal striated muscles and in joints. It is distinguished from exteroception, by which one perceives the outside world, and interoception, by which one perceives pain, hunger, etc., and the movement of internal organs. The brain integrates information from proprioception and from the vestibular system into its overall sense of body position, movement, and acceleration.

It became obvious that her walking was being held up by looking down and making decisions about each step forward.  We do not function that way.  Look ahead, scan the area and focus on where you want to go not where each step should be. 

We laid out three BOSU platforms at uneven distances and patterns – ball side up and had her walk over them.  Practice – practice.  We come out of the Gym and she must focus on the car door as she steps down off the side-walk then onto the divider, walks across the stones and down onto the pavement and into the car.  Step ups – looking straight ahead.  Dribble a small Swiss Ball around the entire perimeter of the gym – she is focusing on dribbling while the “proprioceptors” are taking care of the rest.  So many different activities all designed – in part – to reactivate that component of her brain.

That is what we all do.  Take on a new exercise.  Play a new sport.  Do any new activity and your body and mind have to learn the movements so they become automatic.  If that did not happen – you would have to think about every movement of your body – and you would grind to a halt.

Fancy word for a necessary ability.

She went with my son to his appointment in the city.  He was amazed that she managed to step over some obstacles, onto to or around others.  Does that mean that those accompanying her should ignore her safety – no – but don’t assume she “can’t.”

Advertisements