Please Explain: Balance and Proprioception

Friday, March 14, 2008

Find out about two senses we often take for granted - balance and proprioception (the sense that indicates body movement and placement). Science writer Sandra Blakeslee is author of the book The Body Has a Mind of Its Own: How Body Maps in Your Brain Help You Do (Almost) Everything Better. Scott McCredie is author of Balance: In Search of the Lost Sense.


Sandra Blakeslee and Scott McCredie

Comments [20]

Howard Josepher from NYC

Can I find out more about the guest's comment that neurontin is being used in small amounts to treat auto-immune disease?

Mar. 14 2008 05:33 PM
chestina (felt pressure to change it) from Midtown

Sara if it is vertigo there's an acupressure or acupuncture point that's great for this - St 36 if you can look it up.


Mar. 14 2008 02:09 PM
Simeon Berman, MD from West Orange, NJ

For the listeners who asked about the difficulty that their children are having with balance, one thought in helping them with many of these problems, is that they appear to arise from difficulties within the visual system.

By strengthening the muscles of accommodation (ie, so called push - pull visual eye exercises within the visual system, it may help with both balance and proprioception.

Weak eye muscles, the over taxing of the eyes with long stretches of reading and too much TV etc may be contributory.

Mar. 14 2008 02:08 PM
Amy from Manhattan

To YH (comment #6): I have the same thing, but only when I read. I thought it might be because when I sit sideways & read, my eyes, following the lines in the book, are moving in the same direction as the vehicle, but when I face forward, they move perpendicular to the direction of overall motion. If it can also happen in some people even when they aren't reading, maybe my explanation isn't relevant after all.

Mar. 14 2008 02:00 PM
Kira from Astoria

FYI, Oliver Sacks did write about proprioception in The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat. The chapter is called "The bodiless woman" I think.

Great show!!

Mar. 14 2008 01:58 PM
chestina (felt pressure to change it) from Midtown

Do you think these disabilities (such as in fibromyalgia) have to do with all the microwaves and electronics we have all around?

Mar. 14 2008 01:57 PM
donna from brooklyn

re guest comment that this sense automatically adjusts for example if you are wearing a hat, there seem to be alot of people on the subway who
we senses don't adjust for the giant backpacks they are wearing...

Mar. 14 2008 01:56 PM

Can change in weather presure pattern affect balance

Mar. 14 2008 01:55 PM
Glynnis from Manhattan

Why is it that we often don't recognize pain or physical until we see our injuries?

Mar. 14 2008 01:55 PM
donna from brooklyn

is there a relation between this and body dysmorphic disorder or anorexia? One guest mentioned that a vibration could convince someone that their waist was smaller...

Mar. 14 2008 01:53 PM
Doris from Brooklyn

I wonder if your guests think that "whole body vibration" exercise machines help with balance, as some sources claim - is it a similar benefit as the vibrating insoles that Ms. Blakeslee said are helpful for older people.

Mar. 14 2008 01:52 PM
Allen from Long Island

Is dizziness linked to low blood sugar? I get flashes of dizziness and nausea in the morning, and I think it is because I don't eat or drink anything for breakfast.

Mar. 14 2008 01:51 PM
Sally Beers from Rye, NY

In an exercise class for seniors we always seek to improve balance by trying to balance on one foot adjusting arms and putting the foot not on the ground in front, in back, etc. I do not seem to be improving especially with the right foot. Is this exercise slowly improving balance in a way that is not yet discernible? Or is it simply not helpful?

Is imbalance inherited? (My Dad had trouble with balance as he aged.)Thanks.

Mar. 14 2008 01:47 PM
Sara Robbins from Cheyenne Wyoming....

Listening online... When I close my eyes and bow my head in church I noticed years ago that I feel like I'm going to fall over to the left or right... ????

A more worrysome problem is I age it gets worst (I'm 30) but when I get off of an elevator I have to stand VERY still or I do end up with vertigo and usually it's again a side to side issue where I feel that I'm falling over to the let or right...????

What is affecting this or what could be affecting this?

Mar. 14 2008 01:45 PM
YH from Midtown

I get motion sickness in cars or on the train when I'm facing the direction that the vehicle is travelling. However, if I sit sideways, I don't get motion sickness. Why is that?

Mar. 14 2008 01:44 PM
MCH from Brooklyn

I have a son with Asperger's Syndrome. Before we knew this we noticed that he had sensory integration dysfunctions. For example: he would fall off a ledge if we didn't hold on to him, he would literally walk into walls. This improved dramatically with occupational therapy. He also responds to physical insults by throwing up. I have read that this is common in the autism spectrum. I would love for your guests to discuss this.

Mar. 14 2008 01:41 PM
chestina (felt pressure to change it) from Midtown

I thought the book on the head was for posture -

Also it seems to take time when you want to get your body to agree with proprioception (I am guessing) - I say this as a figure skater who has always been a natural spinner - you have to get your muscles to work to keep you in balance - centered - but it also takes repetition to get there and not be dizzy

Mar. 14 2008 01:40 PM

In movies we always see people walking around with a book on their head to improve their balance... Does anything like this actually work?

Mar. 14 2008 01:31 PM
chestina (felt pressure to change it) from Midtown

is there local proprioception? I mean can your feet have weaker proprioception than your upper body for instance? I feel weird on rollerblades when I have to step down from a curb -

Mar. 14 2008 01:27 PM
LBS from NYC

Does proprioception rely on muscle memory? Are they the same thing?

Mar. 14 2008 01:26 PM

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