Why do people tell me I'm clumsy?

You might think that you are “clumsy” or you may seem to trip over your own feet. Did you ever think that this may be for a reason and that you are not just “clumsy?” I've had many people tell me that they are “just clumsy” or “feel like they have two left feet.” There may be a reason for this.

“Clumsiness” can be caused by many things including medications, medical conditions, fatigue, and many others. One common cause of “clumsiness” is correctable.

There are many nerve endings in your joints, muscles, ligaments, and tendons. These nerves provide information to your brain to orient you in space. This sense or information is called proprioception. Proprioception along with your vision and the sense organs in your ears are the three major components of balance in your body. Try to stand on one foot with your eyes open. Pretty easy is not it? Now close your eyes and try to balance on that foot. Most people start to fall over soon after closing their eyes. Did you feel the muscles in your legs tightening and loosening? The muscles were getting information or feedback from those proprioceptive nerves that I mentioned before.

Clumsiness in children has even been linked to a higher risk of learning disabilities, emotional problems, and attention-deficit / hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). [1]

The part of your brain that receives proprioceptive information is called the cerebellum. If there is any interference in the path from those proprioceptive nerve endings and the cerebellum a loss of balance can occur. Many things can cause this type of interference. Previous injury can be a major factor even if those injuries occurred over time. Chiropractic care, exercise, and adequate nutrition can help you address these issues and help to restore function to your body.

Chiropractic care includes chiropractic adjustments which will help restore function to the joints. Restoring function to joints allows improved range of motion and improved proprioceptive performance to the brain. This improved joint function will improve balance and can help reduce the risk of falls and injuries. So, that feeling of being clumsy might not be what you think.

Improved function can also include balancing the muscles in the body. An imbalance in muscle can cause many issues. An imbalance in muscle can include a weakness in an individual muscle or an entire group of muscles. Often these imbalances are difficult for an individual to detect. They go unnoticed and can be the root cause for injury. An example would be a weakness in one of the hamstring muscles in one of the thighs. If that person was going for a run or playing a sport they are at a high risk for injury to that weak hamstring muscle or to other muscles in the legs. Muscle imbalance is not just an issue for athletes though. Just walking up a flight of stairs with an imbalance in muscle can be the cause for an injury or fall.

Exercise helps to strengthen the muscles which provide motion and also to provide postural support to the body. Muscles are an important part of the framework of the body. Exercise allows the body to get rid of toxins and improves the body's ability to heal itself. A good exercise program includes both cardiovascular and strength training. Cardiovascular training helps keep the blood pressure low without medication and increases metabolism allowing you to keep a healthy body mass. Strength training can also help to prevent injury.

Another key component to good health is a sound nutritional program. Today's world of rushing around and trying to keep up can adversely affect health. It can be very difficult to get adequate nutrition. Grabbing some fast food or eating something because it is quick and convenient can be very tempting. The things that we eat and drink perform some important roles in the body. Food is the energy source that keeps us going and allows cells to heal. Without good nutrition the body's ability to heal itself is adversely affected.

The body requires full function to heal itself and reduce the risk of injury. You may perceive a loss of function as being “clumsy” or not having good balance. The root cause of this “clumsiness” may not be out of your control and something you can correct.

References:

1. Hamilton, S., MD (2002). Home American Academy of Family Physicians. Retrieved September 09, 2015, from http://www.aafp.org