Even if you’re not consciously thinking about it, right now you can probably feel the floor beneath your feet, the clothes on your body, and your mouse (or phone depending where you’re reading this) in your hand.
We have five senses, one being the sense of touch. This sense actually has many subparts: our ability to sense temperature, feel pain, perceive acceleration, understand texture, and perceive our position in space.
Perhaps one of our most interesting senses is proprioception, or the ability to feel where we are in space. Can you imagine trying to do any daily task without positional sense? We would be clumsy, with only our vision left to guide our movements. Instead, the position of every joint in our body is relayed back to our brain via specialized nerve endings called mechanoreceptors.
It’s interesting to look at how these receptors are laid out in our body, specifically in our spine, which is intricately involved in the mechanics of how we move. These mechanoreceptors are found throughout our spine located in each of the joints between the vertebrae. What is especially interesting is that we might suspect that there would be more receptors in our low back given that it is at the base of our spine and carries more weight. In fact, the reverse is true; the part of our spine with the most mechanoreceptors is our neck! In one study, they found that the joints of the neck have the greatest “density and diversity” of mechanoreceptors.
NUCCA practitioners understand the tremendous effect that an injury to the neck can have on posture, and this connection is evident when we examine the layout of the spinal receptors which contribute to our overall sense of position. Have you had an injury in your past? Do you feel like your posture is not optimal? Book a consult and we can help you understand if your positional sense is telling you to stand with balanced posture.
Written by Dr. Trevor Hillard