Proprioception in normal and brain damaged populations : assessment and rehabilitation of the upper limb.
Proprioception, the often forgotten sixth sense, is frequently impaired following stroke,
with rehabilitationists addressing this loss within the therapeutic techniques presented to
resolve motor problems. The aims of the current studies were to (i) establish the current
clinical reality of somatosensory assessment undertaken by physiotherapists nationwide,
(ii) how proprioceptive loss in particular was addressed, (iii) explore upper limb
weightbearing within everyday activity, (iv) evaluate the proprioceptive response in
normal subjects having differences in age and activity. Proprioceptive loss following
brain insult has been shown to have an adverse effect on outcome (iv) undertake a series
of single case-studies to explore the effect of therapeutic intervention of weightbearing.
The findings showed that (i) there was a high degree of agreement in the clinical
practice of somatosensory assessment undertaken, (ii) therapeutic intervention of
weightbearing was found to be recommended for both motor and proprioceptive loss
(iii) upper limb weightbearing was found to be a non-trivial component of everyday life,
(iv) positive effects of upper limb weightbearing were found on the proprioceptive
responses of stroke victims.
The implications of this research are that upper limb weightbearing activities should be
incorporated in therapeutic activities to re-establish and maintain proprioceptive control
of both upper and lower limbs.