Although the cerebellum has many responsibilities, its central function is to coordinate and handle motor activities. Balance, coordination, posture, equilibrium and eye motion are controlled in part by the cerebellum. Additionally, it works to calibrate motor actions in order for our movements to have a smooth, flowing nature to them. The cerebellum receives data from various other structures, like the inner ear and the vestibular system, and fine-tunes incoming sensorimotor information to achieve naturally smooth movements.
Many cerebellum exercises are available which help the cerebellum enhance the operation of its neurons. Essentially, neurons want stimulation to be able to function accordingly. When neurons do not get enough stimulation, they become unstable, which can lead to a lot of behavioral difficulties, such as the ones connected with ADHD, among others. But, exercising the cerebellum can increase operation as well as decrease negative symptoms.
Exercises that require focused attention are demonstrated to help cerebellar development. Deliberate and purposeful physical movements, such as balancing on a balance board or working with a rehabilitation ball, will help neurons get the stimulation they need to maximize their functioning. Because there’s a substantial connection between physical activity and mental functioning, pairing physical tasks with psychological exercises is also very beneficial towards enhancing cerebellar functioning. By way of instance, a child diagnosed with ADHD may be requested to keep their balance on a balance board whilst simultaneously reciting the alphabet.
If a child or individual demonstrates weak cerebellar development in one quadrant, doing physical exercises between the legs and arms on the exact same side of the body is able to help that portion of the cerebellum “catch up” to the level of development of it’s other half. These exercises might involve arm or leg stretches or complex motions that include the hands, wrists, elbows and shoulders. Vestibular-based actions, such as catching and throwing a ball or performing balance exercises such as standing on one leg, are also great cerebellum exercises that ease the stabilization, growth and development of neurons.
Cerebellar rehabilitation programs incorporate each of these exercises into an extensive regimen for tapping into the brain’s neuroplasticity. The exercises involved require patients to perform tasks that involve balance, spatial judgments, and motor actions, all which enhance cerebellar functioning and operation. Basically, since the brain’s neural networks arrange the incoming sensory information, they improve their functioning and become more effective.
Dr. Alex Jimenez’s Insight
Cerebellar ataxia is a disorder which affects the normal functioning of the brain and the nervous system by decreasing balance and coordination, most commonly in the back, arms and legs. Cerebellar rehabilitation exercises are often utilized to help alleviate the symptoms associated with cerebellar ataxia. Cerebellar exercises can also be recommended by a chiropractor or physical therapist for children and individuals in order to stimulate the brain and help with cerebellar development. Participating in cerebellar exercises has been demonstrated to improve balance, coordination and posture as well as promote more natural and smooth motor activities.
Many cerebellar exercises can be utilized in order to help stimulate specific regions of the brain, particularly the cerebellum. Each zone of the cerebellum is in charge of performing essential functions, therefore, enhancing these different regions is fundamental towards ultimate function and operation. Below, a series of exercises have been divided to enhance specific zones of the cerebellum.
General Cerebellar Exercises
- Spinning in a desk seat can stimulate the ipsilateral cerebellum
- Vertical muscle stretch can stimulate the ipsilateral cerebellum
- Squeezing a tennis ball can stimulate the ipsilateral cerebellum
- Passive or active non-linear complex movements can stimulate the ipsilateral cerebellum
- Finger to nose extending can stimulate the ipsilateral cerebellum
Vermal and Paravermal Exercises
- Passive and active gaze stabilization exercises using central fixation
- Wobble board/unsteady surface exercises
- Balance beam exercises and tandem walking
- Bouncing a ball against the floor or throwing it against the wall
- Core exercises, such as planks, sit-ups and yoga
- Learning how to balance on a bicycle
- Supine cross crawl action
Lateral Cerebellum Exercises
- Cognitive procedures
- Learning a musical instrument
- Tracing a maze
- Playing “catch”
- Tapping fingers/hand or toes/feet to the beat of a metronome
- Seeking to compose with eyes shut
- Strategic board games
Cerebellar Rehabilitation Exercises for Cerebellum Dysfunction
When the cerebellum is damaged or not fully developed, individuals can display erratic or slow movements, demonstrate an inability to judge distance, have difficulty performing rapid moves, and walk with an unnatural gait. Dysfunction from the cerebellum have also been linked to symptoms of ADHD and other behavioral disorders. Cerebellar rehabilitation exercises can be helpful towards enhancing the indications of cerebellum dysfunction, most commonly, cerebellar ataxia.
Cerebellar ataxia is a disease which originates from the cerebellum. Cerebellar ataxia can happen as a result of several ailments and presents with symptoms of an inability to coordinate balance, gait, upper/lower extremity and eye motions. Healthcare professionals frequently use visual monitoring of people performing motor tasks so as to look for signs of ataxia. Research studies have shown that cerebellar rehabilitation exercises can be helpful towards improving symptoms related to cerebellum dysfunction.
Treatment of cerebellar ataxia generally involves treating the underlying illness in addition to the symptoms. Cerebellar rehabilitation exercises are used to improve balance and increase the independence of the patient using methods focusing on balance, posture and coordination control. Stabilizing the back and proximal muscles ought to begin with mat activities, like moving onto the forearms out of a lying face down position and crawling/moving onto the knees into a sitting posture. Gait training should also be performed, since it’s an excellent indicator of balance and insertion.
Cerebellar rehabilitation exercises for cerebellum dysfunction can also improve proprioception. Proprioception is controlled by the cerebellum and involves knowing which body parts are situated in space and in connection with each other. Treatment entails plyometric exercises, balance board and mini trampoline exercises. Vibration and match treatment can also be utilized to enhance proprioception, posture and movement. Yoga and other body-awareness exercises might also be included in the treatment plan to increase proprioception.
Rehabilitation goals include enhancing balance and posture against external stimuli, increasing joint stabilization as well as creating independent, practical gait to promote independence. Training principles include progressing from simple to complicated exercises and providing support with home exercise and sports activities. Cerebellar rehabilitation exercises should be prescribed by a healthcare professional who specializes in cerebellum dysfunction, such as a chiropractor or physical therapists. The language of the brain is repetition, and rehabilitation can enhance brain function. The scope of our information is limited to chiropractic as well as to spinal injuries and conditions. To discuss the subject matter, please feel free to ask Dr. Jimenez or contact us at 915-850-0900 .
Curated by Dr. Alex Jimenez
Additional Topics: Sciatica
Sciatica is medically referred to as a collection of symptoms, rather than a single injury and/or condition. Symptoms of sciatic nerve pain, or sciatica, can vary in frequency and intensity, however, it is most commonly described as a sudden, sharp (knife-like) or electrical pain that radiates from the low back down the buttocks, hips, thighs and legs into the foot. Other symptoms of sciatica may include, tingling or burning sensations, numbness and weakness along the length of the sciatic nerve. Sciatica most frequently affects individuals between the ages of 30 and 50 years. It may often develop as a result of the degeneration of the spine due to age, however, the compression and irritation of the sciatic nerve caused by a bulging or herniated disc, among other spinal health issues, may also cause sciatic nerve pain.