The Cerebellum and Posture
With as amazing of a machine as the body is, you would think that good posture would be as easy as, “I want to have good posture.” You make a decisions, the body responds, and good to go. Picture perfect!
But… it’s not. There are a number of factors involved with posture that go beyond your conscious control.
This blog post is meant to help our Lakewood Ranch Medical Massage clients understand one part of the brain, the Cerebellum, and its effect on posture. (Check our blog for other articles about the brain and posture.)
My goal is to use non-medical-speak as much as possible to help you understand rather than glaze-over your eyes.
Feel clumsy? Maybe a little statue-esque (the brick-like stiff kind, not the superhero kind)? Knowing a little more about the brain can help you develop a plan to work towards. (Which is what most people hire me–Lizz–to help them with.)
What is the Cerebellum?
You have a brain. The brain controls most of the stuff that happens in your body. Each area has its own name as well as several functions and responsibilities to manage.
The cerebellum is a part of the brain and with movement it’s the center for checks and balances. Balance, coordination, posture, and even some eye movement.
Motor output (your movement) is refined in the cerebellum. It allows you to move without an excess of motion so you can move with precision.
Postural stability as you move, or dynamic postural stability, happens here.
The cerebellum being in good health will help you prevent injury, keep good balance as you get older, reduce your risk of falls, and allow for more fine motor control.
Working With the Cerebellum
Part of my training in the Postural Neurology program (that I’m hoping to finish by 2019) is learning how to stimulate various areas of the brain through massage, using tools, and with gentle exercises so that the brain/body connection works more functionally.
Turns out, massage works by stimulating the nervous system more than anything else. And pain? That’s also hugely controlled by the brain and its various processes. So learning more about the brain helps me help you, and if you know WHY I’m asking you to do something, you’re more likely to do it.
If you’d like to know more about the Cerebellum and how you can work on it at home, we can make that a part of your education and empowerment process. My goal is to give you enough information that you don’t need me anymore and work myself out of a job! (Sadly, with the chronic pain industry growing each year, I have job security.)
A Few Quick Tips
When you perform motions that are complicated enough to REQUIRE YOUR FULL ATTENTION (that’s the tricky part), you will stimulate the cerebellum more. Ways to make activities you’ve adapted to a little harder include:
- Involve multiple joints (such as fingers, wrist, elbow, and shoulder)
- If safe, you can close one or both of your eyes
- Do things in reverse of what you’re used to
- Slowly increase the challenge level
- Work on a more difficult surface (such as a balance or wobble board)
(LWRMM and Lizz Pugh take no responsibility or liability for activities that result in injury or harm. Play it safe and ease in to any activity, always clearing with your doctor if there is any question.)