Have you ever wondered why you tend to repeat having the same injuries even after you have had several treatments with your health practitioners? This is because our bodies continue to move in the same movement pattern that caused the injury. The body’s alignment and movement is a reflection of an individual’s habits and past injuries. Past experiences help mould the brain to develop neural pathways that allow the body to respond in a particular way. This is what we call neuroplasticity.
In neuroplasticity, neurons communicate with each other via electron chemical signals. These signals are transmitted through the synapse, the structural part of the neuron. Through repetition and studying the synaptic communication between neurons strengthen, has the ability to create new synapse and stimulate the neural pathways. This is what helps mould the brain to get the body to respond in particular ways. It is through neuroplasticity that can help re-educate the body to move in an ideal way.
This is why physiotherapy is essential. Manual therapy is ideally practised to optimise alignment, reduce stiffness and improve mobility. It is through repeating the right exercises we further improve neuroplasticity in maintaining optimal behaviour and eventually mould our brain and body to have the ability to do anything. The exercise itself does not have to be vigorous in any way, it can be simple exercise such as breathing in a different way or even just thinking tall, providing change to deep muscles.
For a patient, improving neuroplasticity to get rid of pain is not a quick fix. It will take time and effort. Below are factors that can help speed up neuroplasticity:
⦁ Repetition – To incorporate a new habit you need to repeat the movement 60 times every day for 21 days.
⦁ Mood – studies show that if you are alert, focus and engaged when performing exercises, the brain releases neurochemicals necessary to enable brain change. Whereas if you are disengaged, distracted or inattentive you are unlikely to create change no matter how many repetitions you do.
⦁ Repeating exercises aiming to improve postural alignment and neuroplasticity can sometimes only be temporary. To create long term neuroplasticity and change, the brain must judge whether the experience is fascinated or feels beneficial to survival.
⦁ The task/ exercises practised must be meaningful to the individual and be reinforced with positive feedback
In improving the body, you must first mould the brain through neuroplasticity. It is through repetition of meaningful exercises that can improve neuroplasticity and can eventually provide permanent change to the body. Without working on neuroplasticity treatments will only be temporary.