In this video, you’ll:
Many years ago, when I was at medical school, I remember a very eminent neurology professor who was lecturing to our class saying, “You reach your biological peak in your 20s. From then on, it’s all downhill, and especially in your brain.”
I remember hearing it and thinking, “Oh, no!” Because I was in my 20s at the time. The good news is that he couldn’t have been more wrong. His statement was, “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”
In fact, you can teach an old dog new tricks right into grand old age. You can continue learning new tricks all your life
The way to do that is through a process called neuroplasticity. This is one of the great advances in the last 20 years in neuroscience.
Neuroplasticity means changeability. That’s the real meaning of plastic. Plastic is malleable and changeable. The changeability of nerves is neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is something which we all do every day of our lives to a greater or lesser extent.
Neuroplasticity is the ability of your synapses to change. The synapses are the connections were one nerve talks to another.
You have a trillion of these little nerves talking to each other inside your brain and in your spinal cord. Neuroplasticity is the ability of those synapses to change, to modify their function, and the ability of your brain to grow new synapses.
How exciting is that? We have the ability to grow new connections, and we have the ability to modify existing connections. What drives neuroplastic change are three key factors.
The first is that when you learn something, especially if you learn something new, you fire up this neuroplasticity. The second is the great teacher, which is life–life’s experiences, you adapt, you change, you learn.
The third is brain injury. You have a head injury or a stroke, some kind of damage to your brain. Your brain uses this as a stimulus to get back to normal or to get back to better function.
However, there is a dark side to neuroplasticity. The dark side is this process can cause you real problems. The main place that neuroplasticity can in fact not be your friend is in chronic pain.
What happens with pain? Let’s say you twist your ankle. As you twist your ankle, little nerve endings in the ankle pick up a pain message that is zoomed up to the spinal cord. Then you get to the very first synapse or the very first connection in the chain of nerves leading up to your brain.
As the pain message comes along it jumps through the synapse. The transmitters zoom up to your brain, and comes to the little upside down man, or homunculus, inside your head. This is your brain’s respresentation of your body.
When the message arrives, light goes on in the ankle part of the homunculus, and you think “Oh, I’ve twisted my ankle. Aw, my ankle is sore.”
In the next second, neuroplasticity kicks in. In the synapses, in the connections on the way up to your brain, little amplifiers turn on. As the amplifiers turn on, what happens is your pain gets bigger.
I’m sure all of you have noticed this that when you twist something, you get an initial pain and then the pain gets worse. The worse is that neuroplasticity kicked in, and now that whole message is amplified.
Because it’s a protective response. Your brain and your pain system are making sure you know you’ve damaged yourself. Now, under normal circumstances, you put some ice on your ankle, you get a bit of treatment, you start walking, and your ankle gets better.
As your ankle gets better, those little amplifiers all along the synapses turn down. Then you’re back to playing sport and walking and doing everything you normally do.
However, what would happen if the amplifiers did not turn off? This does in fact happen and is not uncommon. If the amplifiers on that nerve pathway do not turn off, even though the ankle starts to get better and starts to heal, you continue feeling amplified messages which you read in your mind as pain.
So your ankle gets better, but the pain does not get better. This is the dark side of neuroplasticity. The outcome of this is you can continue to feel pain in your ankle for months, years, or the rest of your life.
If those amplifiers don’t turn off, this change may then spread in the pain system, and you start feeling your whole leg hurts. It may even spread further until your whole body hurts (the more common name for this is often fibromyalgia.)
This is neuroplasticity in chronic pain, and the medical name for this is pain sensitization. It’s also called central sensitization. This affects millions of people.
The vast majority of people do not know pain sensitisation is the underlying cause of their pain. They go to doctors and other health professionals and they say, “I’ve got a sore ankle and it’s just not getting better.” The doctor looks at this and then treats the ankle.
If you treat the ankle, and the ankle is healing, it doesn’t actually change anything because the problem is now in the synapses; it’s in the connections in your pain system.
This is where things get really exciting. Because if neuroplasticity got you into chronic pain, guess what? You can harness the same process to get yourself out of pain, using the neuroplasticity.
The ability of your brain to modify and change the way synapses work and to change its structure means pain sensitization is reversible. To do this requires you to learn a new set of skills.
These are called NeuroMind techniques. When you apply these techniques consistently, they cause changes in how you feel pain. There’s a range of NeuroMind techniques you can customize for yourself because we’re all different kinds of learners.
The majority of people are visual learners, but some are auditory, and some are kinaesthetic; they learn through movement. There are NeuroMind techniques to suit you.
Once you’ve got that, and you start to apply them, and it’s like a new skill. Eventually you get to the point where, use the neuroplastic process, you’re able to turn down the amplifiers in your spinal cord and in your brain.
This is very exciting process. The answer is of course that you can teach an old dog new tricks. That old dog is all of us, all of us.
If you want to learn more about how to do this yourself, then just click on the link below. This will take you to a place where you can actually book a call to discuss with experts that work with me, and how you can take the next step to go so that you can learn how to harnes this neuroplastic process inside your own mind so that you can make your own pain better.
I have struggled with cronic pain and Fybromialga for over 45 years. I would love a tecnique that I coukd work on myself. I’m just trying to reciver from a total knee replacement, one moth ago and fel my progress is cery slow.Reply