February 7, 2019

The 2 Hidden Senses

You’re familiar with the five senses: taste, touch, smell, hearing, and sight, but did you know there’s actually 2 more?  And they’re very important! These are proprioception and vestibular sense, and they help you stand upright and move.

But first, let’s talk about the senses you’re familiar with. What are they and why are they important? Your senses refer to the various ways your body receives information from the world. Information is the input your body receives when encountering an object, a sensation, a space, etc. The lovely scent of a blooming flower, the sweet taste of watermelon, and the sharp point of a nail, are examples of messages sent to your brain upon contact.

Taste, touch, smell, hearing and vision are the senses we frequently discuss because they are heavy hitters in the sensory realm. We often enjoy and discuss the taste of food with friends or enjoy the sound of birds chipping in the morning, but knowing where your left arm is never seems to come up in conversation! Let’s talk about these lesser known senses and why they’re crucial to our everyday lives.

Proprioception is the important sense that tells you where your body is. It’s the spatial awareness that allows you to control your body. When you step up on a ladder, for example, proprioception helps your brain knows where your foot is, in order to guide it to the step. Proprioception allows your hand to lead your toothbrush into your mouth. If your brain couldn’t easily locate your mouth, your toothbrush might hit your nose every night!

The vestibular system is responsible for your balance and your body staying upright. It’s comprised of a series of apparatuses in your inner ear that communicate with your brain to provide spacial orientation and stability. Without your vestibular system, you wouldn’t be able to stand on your own two feet.

Many of the patients that we treat at Innova Brain Rehabilitation have issues with their proprioception and vestibular systems. When patients complain of dizziness or balance issues, we suspect these systems are being challenged and probably not functioning like they should.

If you have any questions about your symptoms and think you might have a problem with one of these critical functions, please call the office at 770-485-6554 to schedule a free consultation today.

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