Senior Balance Exercises To Help With Loss Of Vibration Sense

By Suzanne Stoke, Physical Therapist @ Exercise For Balance via

   Practicing senior balance exercises has many benefits. By performing stability routines as we age, we can combat the natural decline in our balance system that occurs with the aging process. Our balance system is composed of visual input from our eyes, sensory input of how we are moving from our inner ear vestibular system and where we are in space from our proprioception system in all the muscles, ligaments and joints throughout our bodies. In our later years, all of those balance system components diminish in effectiveness. For instance, our visual acuity declines with cataracts or macular degeneration. Our ankles become stiff and weak and do not have their original speed and strength in balance reactions. Additionally, the hair cells in our inner ear vestibular system become stiffer and less responsive, leading to decreased information on our every move. Furthermore, the proprioceptive feedback from the joints, ligaments and muscles do not respond as clearly to the fine vibratory sensations that are necessary for good balance. Please see

 Senior Balance Exercises To Help With Vibration Sense Deficits

Practicing senior balance exercises helps to maximize a person’s balance abilities to compensate for the diminished sensory input of the fine vibratory information. For more information on the vibration sense, please see the following from S Gilman’s review, Joint position sense and vibration sense: anatomical organisation and assessment Receptors and central pathways mediating vibration sense.

    “The sense of vibration results from the sinusoidal oscillation of objects placed against the skin. Mechanoreceptors in the skin respond to the oscillations by developing action potentials that are transmitted through their neural afferents, with a pulse code in which each action potential signals one cycle of a sinusoidal wave. The frequency of action potentials in the afferent nerve fibre signals the vibration frequency. The perception of vibration as a series of rapidly repeating sensation results from the simultaneous activation of multiple receptors, leading to synchronous discharge among many afferent fibres. The receptors responsible for vibration sense include Merkel disk receptors and Meissner’s corpuscles in the superficial layers of the skin and pacinian corpuscles in deeper layers of skin, between layers of muscle, and in periosteum . The receptor afferents are myelinated and include both large diameter (group Aα, diameter 12–20 μm, conduction velocities 72 to 120 m/s) and medium diameter (group Aβ, diameter 6–12 μm, conduction velocities 36 to 72 m/s) fibres. Merkel disk receptors respond maximally to low frequencies (5–15 Hz), Meissner’s corpuscles to mid-range frequencies (20–50 Hz), and pacinian corpuscles to high frequencies (60–400 Hz). Receptor tuning thresholds determine the capacity to detect vibration. The total number of sensory nerve fibres activated by a vibrating stimulus determines the intensity of vibration; the frequency of firing determines the vibration frequency perceived. Humans are most responsive to vibration at frequencies of 200–250 Hz. Fibres mediating vibration sense course through peripheral nerves and dorsal roots to enter the spinal cord. These fibres bifurcate, with one branch terminating upon neurons in the deeper layers of the dorsal horn and the other entering the dorsal columns. Second order neurons from the dorsal horn ascend through the ipsilateral dorsolateral funiculus, terminating upon neurons in the lateral cervical nucleus. Postsynaptic neurons from the lateral cervical nucleus project across the midline of the spinal cord, ascend to enter the medulla, and join the medial lemniscus. The dorsolateral pathway appears to be the important one mediating vibration sense in the human.The dorsal root collaterals entering the dorsal columns ascend the spinal cord ipsilaterally, terminating in the dorsal column nuclei of the medulla. Fibres of the dorsal columns maintain a topographical arrangement, with those from the caudal segments positioned medially and those from the rostral segments laterally. The medially placed fibres form synapses in the gracile nucleus and the laterally placed fibres form synapses in the cuneate nuclei. Neurons emanating from the gracile and cuneate nuclei form the medial lemniscus, which crosses the midline and receives fibres from the lateral cervical nucleus. The medial lemniscus then ascends the brainstem to terminate in the VPL nucleus of the thalamus. Afferents mediating vibration sense from the face project to the principal trigeminal nucleus, and postsynaptic neurons send fibres through the trigeminal lemniscus to terminate in the VPM nucleus of the thalamus. Thalamocortical projections from the VPL and VPM ascend to the primary somatosensory areas (S1) of the postcentral gyrus of the cerebral cortex, terminating upon vibratory responsive neurons.
In summary, vibration sense is one of the important components of sensory input that helps our brain know where our body is, how it is moving and how it is engaging with the surrounding environment. As we age, our sensory inputs diminish in clarity and we are encouraged to compensate by practicing balance exercises to maximize our steadiness in various walking and standing activities. To help you perform stability exercises in the comfort of your own home, a detailed balance exercise program has been developed and professionally filmed for you- the Exercise For Balance DVD.


Balance Exercises In The Exercise For Balance DVDbalance exercise dvd

    To help compensate for diminishing vibratory senses as we age, begin the best balance exercises with the Exercise For Balance DVD. The DVD is formatted to use at home or in a group setting. The Balance DVD comes complete with the best balance and strength exercises needed to enhance senior fitness and to perform basic activities like walking, standing, stair climbing or to advance to high level activities like dancing and hiking. In the Exercise For Balance DVD, you will learn in a clear manner how to improve balance, balance techniques and balance routines from a licensed Physical Therapist who has worked with balance and dizziness disorders for over 20 years. Get your copy of the Exercise For Balance DVD by clicking on the BUY NOW button

senior balance exercises

Fight the effects of aging by starting balance exercises today with the Exercise For Balance DVD to improve balance and prevent falls.

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