Neuroplasticity- a fancy word that’s become somewhat of a buzz word in the latest neurology research. It’s hugely important to your neurological health and how your body functions on a daily basis.
So what exactly is it??
It’s your brain’s ability to adapt to changes in your environment. This is critical in times of learning new skills or information and in times of injury. When learning new information, our brain has to create new neural pathways and connections in order for us to retain what is new. The more we practice these skills or study information, the more ingrained these neural connections become and we are able to remember them almost subconsciously.
In times of injury, your brain must adapt to provide your body with necessary changes to start immediate healing. Sprained ankle? Your body is going to send more blood flow to the area with chemicals and antibodies that are going to kickstart the healing process.
When your brain loses the ability to adapt to new information, you see a significant decline in one’s health.
In a chiropractic office, this topic is hugely important, especially in terms of chronic pain. During the initial stages of tissue damage, noxious stimuli (pain signals) are sent to the brain. This is beneficial because it protects your body from further damaging the tissue by informing you of painful motions or activities. But when the healing process is delayed, the overstimulation of these signals can cause a physical change in the brain, specifically at the prefrontal cortex. This can lead to a chronic stimulation of pain receptors, leading your body to believe that it is chronically hurt because it has lost its neuroplasticity, or it’s ability to adapt.
The amazing news is that you aren’t bound to this fate. Your brain is an organ of change. It wants to adapt and to put your body in the best position to thrive. The latest research in chiropractic is showing incredible changes to the adaptive and neuroplastic capabilities of the brain, especially in the prefrontal cortex. This is good news for anyone suffering with chronic pain. Not only can consistent chiropractic care structurally benefit your body’s biomechanics, but it also enhances brain health.
While we are anxiously awaiting more research on benefiting your brain’s health, you can rest assured that chronic pain doesn’t have to be chronic. Healing is possible for you.