The 6th Sense-Proprioception

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Do we actually have a 6th sense? Some people propose that proprioception is our 6th sense.

Proprioception helps your body know where it is in space.
For example, when you are hitting a pinata, proprioception gives your body feedback so that you know the location of your arm and hand.
Proprioception allows this juggler to catch the objects without looking at their hands.

 It would be difficult to drive an automobile because a motorist would not be able to steer or use the pedals while looking at the road ahead. Typing on a keyboard would be challenging,and people would not even be able to walk without watching where they put their feet.

Proprioception comes from sensory nerve endings that provide our brain with the information of the limb position. There are specialized nerves in your muscles and joints that communicate with your brain and tell it what position your joint is in and how much stretch or strain in on the muscles surrounding a joint. The proprioception nerves create a system of communication with your brain about what is happening to the muscles and joints of your body.

There are three basic types of proprioceptors:

  • Muscle spindles, found in skeletal muscle fibers 
  • Golgi tendon organs found where muscles and tendons attach. 
  • Joint receptors found at skeletal joints. 

These receptors detect limb velocity, if a muscle is contracted or stretched, and the location of a specific skeletal joint in space.
All of the data collected from the proprioceptors are sent to the brain, which combines this with sensory information of the inner ear in order to help you know the location of your limbs and torso.


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