For many years, scientists believed that the adult human brain was static and unchanging but there is now evidence to the contrary. Neuroplasticity, or the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections, therefore changing its structure and function in response to experience, proves that the brain CAN be rewired and gives new hope to patients suffering from all types of brain injuries and even depression.
Changes in the brain can happen quickly. One study by neuroscientist Joenna Driemeyer shows that habits can be formed in as little as seven days of repeated activity. The study, which focused on participants learning to juggle, showed that after seven days a motion specific part of the occipital lobe had increased in density, as evidenced on MRI scans, which seems to prove that learning new skills, rather than just practicing old skills, may be most effective in terms of altering the brain structure.
While neuroplasticity may be gaining more acceptance in the US, the Dalai Lama has long since believed in harnessing the power of neuroplasticity and has helped recruit Tibetan Buddhist monks for research on the brain and how meditation facilitates changes in the brain, ultimately leading to well-being and emotional balance. Again, the use of MRI technology showed changes in the brain that reflected alterations in the connectivity and circuity of the brain. (To read more about the meditation study, please click here.)
Perhaps some of the most impressive and useful findings regarding neuroplasticity are helping patients who are suffering from chronic pain, the most widespread and costly health problem affecting us today. Brain-based treatments may be the best option today for reversing pain and some of the key factors utilized in the neuroplastic approach to chronic pain treatment include stress management techniques, meditation, visualization and using memory to retrain the brain, and therefore the body, to move without feeling the pain. One Harvard University professor conducted a study that placed elderly men in a living environment that mimicked their lives as they were 20 years before, when the men were more active and free of arthritis pain. During the week long study, all of the men became more active, less dependent on assistive devices and generally more healthy. One man who entered the study using a cane, participated in a game of touch football by week’s end.
Even patients suffering from extreme conditions such as phantom limb pain, have found relief through the use visual cues and therapies such as mirror therapy, where they have been unsuccessful with traditional therapies. (For a more in-depth look at phantom limb pain and relief through chiropractic neurology and neuroplasticity treatments, please visit http://bit.ly/WmXHXL)
An expert in rehabilitating the brain through the use of neuroplasticity, Dr. Marc Ellis and his team at the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center in Roswell, GA, are constantly staying on the forefront of this highly effective treatment option. Drug-free and non-invasive, the techniques used by Dr. Ellis to administer neuroplastic treatment are both highly desirable for patients who have been unable to find relief through “traditional medical treatments” and fast-acting. For more information, or to schedule a comprehensive consultation with Dr. Ellis, please contact the Georgia Chiropractic Neurology Center at 770-664-4288.