The Importance of Neuroplasticity Training for Improving Chronic Illness
Neuroplasticity training may be a missing element in chronic pain, chronic disease, anxiety, trauma, and even food sensitivity that has not improved with diet and gut healing. It’s also been shown to have a positive impact on brain health. Why is this the case?
The brain’s extraordinary capacity to rewire itself allows us to acquire new abilities, function better, reduce chronic discomfort and even restore function after a stroke or catastrophic brain damage. Neuroplasticity refers to this capacity. Our mental, emotional, and physical health may all be improved by harnessing the potential of neuroplasticity.
Chronic psychological stress, such as that brought on by traumatic childhood experiences (ACEs), has been shown to alter brain plasticity adversely. Toxins, such as mercury and mold, create inflammation in the brain, which may lead to long-term brain damage.
For decades, the medical and scientific community saw these alterations as irreversible, leaving many patients feeling lost and without hope. However, in the last several years, our knowledge of brain injuries has greatly improved. It’s now clear that the brain can heal and regenerate itself given the correct conditions. “Neuroplasticity” is the basic method through which a damaged brain may heal and regenerate itself. Find out how neuroplasticity may be used to help you recover from a chronic illness by reading on.
What is the Meaning of Neuroplasticity?
When it comes to our brains, unlike computers, which are constructed to a set specification and get software updates on a regular basis, our brains have the ability to acquire hardware upgrades as well as software upgrades. Depending on our past experiences, new routes emerge and are eventually obliterated.
In the process of acquiring new knowledge, we form new neural pathways in our brain. New situations force us into a state of mental adjustment. Even though this occurs on a regular basis, we have the power to promote it.
The brain undergoes two basic transformations:
Neurons are brain cells that both receive information from the environment and transmit it to the rest of the body through electrical impulses. Neuronal plasticity may be divided into three categories:
- Regeneration of neurons (when neurons are regrown or repaired)
- Collateral sprouting (when healthy neurons (brain cells) grow into surrounding injured nerve tissue.)
- Neurogenesis (when the brain makes new neurons in adulthood.)
There are many neuronal connections in our developing brains while we are infants (synapses). Synapses that we use often are retained in our brains, whereas those that we don’t utilize are eliminated. Adults may have a more difficult time picking up a musical instrument because of this. Synaptic connections were removed from the brains of children. However, we can still learn to play music as adults because of neurogenesis (the brain’s capacity to create new neurons in old age.).
An example of this is when a region of the brain that is still functioning takes up functions that another area of the brain has lost due to injury.
Neurons in the human brain may be rewired in a variety of ways to improve daily functioning.
Learning about the science of chronic illness
All pain originates in the brain and nerve system.
It’s crucial to begin by recognizing that all pain originates in the brain and nerve system. The brain receives information from the body all the time, and some of those messages are warnings of danger.
In order to protect us from harm, the brain analyzes these danger signals and determines whether or not to cause pain in response. When the brain creates pain in a fraction of a second, it takes hundreds of things into consideration. An intriguing one, and one that we have some control over.
Chronic pain vs. acute pain
Our brain sends out pain signals to alert us to potential dangers, such as if we touch something that’s too hot or if we harm ourselves. To avert or repair any harm, we may take action now. To avoid a burn, for example, we would move our hands away from something hot or seek medical attention for an injury. Chronic illness, on the other hand, negates the preventive benefits of this behavior.
This image of chronic pain as a malfunctioning warning system is often used at Pathways. Even when there is no immediate danger, the brain continues to send out pain signals to the body. A hyperactive nervous system is known as a condition known as central sensitization. Injuries that do not heal correctly or that continue even after they have been healed might cause this. Even if there is no harm, it may happen! It’s hard to understand why the brain continues to send out pain signals even when there is no danger. Neuroplasticity is the key to unlocking this mystery.
Neuroplasticity refers to the fact that our brains are able to learn and adapt as we move through our lives. Our brain’s neural circuits alter as it adapts. Repeated exposure to a stimulus strengthens neuronal connections in the brain.
Neuroplasticity training may take numerous forms and be utilized for a variety of purposes.
Neuroplasticity training in the form of occupational therapy is a common technique for helping stroke victims regain lost abilities (such as using utensils) by teaching a different area of the brain to take over those tasks.
Learning to think better is the goal of brain training games. There are several benefits to learning new skills like playing an instrument or participating in a new activity. The brain can be trained to reduce pain signals by regular meditation even in the face of a chronic sickness.
Mind-body techniques such as meditation, breathwork, visualization, cognitive behavioral therapy, and emotional restructuring therapy are used in neuroplasticity training programs.
Neuroplasticity and its Positive Effects
Neuroplasticity has several advantages for the brain, as shown by the research cited above. Additional benefits of brain adaptation include the ones listed below in addition to the ones mentioned above:
- Recovering from brain trauma, such as a stroke or brain tumor
- Functional rewiring of the brain, such as when a part of the brain that regulates one sensation is injured, other parts of the brain may be able to step in.
- A person’s other senses may become more acute if a sense is gone.
- Boosted memory
- Improved cognitive ability
- The ability to learn more efficiently
It’s possible that if you’ve previously tried a low-inflammatory diet, gut healing, and treatment of any gut imbalances but are still suffering, neuroplasticity may be the missing piece to your wellbeing.