Brain remapping to restore your back, neck and joint pain
February 19, 2021
Many of us do not consider that our brain is really made up of a bunch of maps that relate to each part of our body. This brain receives information from our body via receptor activation that delivers important feedback as to where we are in space. The brain needs an accurate map so that it can coordinate the joints, muscles and tendons of our body in an effort to provide smooth motion and appropriate muscle tension throughout movement so that we don't cause inflammation through repetitive misuse and eventually damage ourselves and cause pain that has occurred through abnormal movement patterns.
If you can, imagine making a dot on a whiteboard with a marker. That's the specificity your brain desires to see your inidividual muscles and joints so it can properly coordinate and control them for smooth function. However, with injury, postural changes, idiopathic or reduction in activities or muscle tone as we age, this dot is no longer visible by the brain. So, the brain makes a bigger circle and says, "I at least know that the dot is in this area, so I'm going to expand my map to include more regions, but I'll still be able to locate the dot somewhere in this circle." It continues to do this until the map gets larger and larger and eventually creates problems within that area and your spatial understanding of your body part is abnormal, making it susceptible to injury and now allowing pain to occur at a much more frequent, or constant rate. Your brain activates all muscles in that area, instead of the appropriate ones and often results in abnormal firing of flexors/extensors, abdutors/adductors causing uncoordinated activity through lack of control. This can also result in dystonia for certain individuals as seen in the cervical region due to the expansion of the understood maps.
This is where Chiropractic Neurology is able to help, by comprehensively evaluating and targeting all of the errors involved in the brain, we can perform appropriate treatments to restore accurate mapping so that information coming in will be used appropriately. Remapping starts from the top (brain) and bottom (body) simultaneously by utilizing receptor pools in the vestibular system, which share similar pathways in the brain as proprioceptive input (information from the body) so we can start to coordinate and improve received information in a manner that will reduce errors of ouput that cause dysfunction and pain. We also use retinotopic maps in the superior colliculus of the brain stem through specific eye movement therapy that also help to retrain the maps of the affected areas. We utilize receptors in the muscles and joints of the body that respond to stretch, vibration and motion through physical therapy, chiropractic, spinal decompression and other specific treatments that comprehensively restore receptor activity within the affected region. Receptors are firing pins, or light switches that start a signal within a nerve to the brain. We have countless amounts of them and they all have a specific job and part of the brain they are associated with. They respond to spatial and temporal summation, or activation that occurs through treating not just the muscle, but also the joint and nerve(s) and every other tissue involved that will give multiple avenues of information for the brain to use for accurate remapping - picture triangulation. This must be done over enough time and frequently, which is what temporal summation describes.
At Portland Chiropractic Neurology, we use a comprehensive model of rehabilitation to enable appropriate receptor stimulation to target all areas involved in the mapping dysfunction involved in your pain. When we perform this over enough time, the expanded maps begin to shrink to give proper, coordinatated and specific information about your spine, limbs and regions throughout the body. Specific treatments are designed based upon the evaluation we perform with you that will provide us with the proper diagnosis to restore the necessary brain mapping. We may utilize neurological rehab, chiropractic care, physical therapy, occupational therapy and hyperbaric oxygen therapy in a very specific combination that is right for your condition. If you are suffering from back, neck or extremity pain, please let us know if you would like more information.