Monthly Archives: August 2014

More Neurology from your Pensacola Chiropractor- Blazing a New Pathway in Your Brain

Pensacola Fl PathwayIf you have ever made your way through a thickly overgrown area, you understand the value of a machete – the huge knife used for cutting through underbrush.  If you ever learned to drive a manual transmission car, you understand the difficulty of creating a new pathway in your brain. It’s rough going at first; certainly not a smooth and easy path.

But, as you push yourself along this pathway in your brain the second or third time, it begins to get easier and the process becomes smoother and more coordinated. Eventually, you can drive the manual transmission car without any conscious thought at all; it is a well established and easy pathway.

Your first steps as a baby were difficult, but now they come smoothly. This is convenient.

When I walk the dogs, I can focus on keeping their behavior in line, and I don’t have to keep my brain occupied with making my legs take each step along our walk. These gradually enhanced pathways can be created in every area of our brain and are valuable, but sometimes they are a pain.  

Literally.

The Problem
If you have a recurring pain, that pathway can become enhanced or “potentiated” and, just like hacking your way through the overgrown brush, it gradually becomes much easier to use this pathway.  In other words, the pain pathway can be fired again and again with a lot less stimulus than was required the first few times. In chiropractic neurology we say “neurons that fire together, wire together. 

What to do?
You need a machete. (Figuratively, of course.)  You want to create new and different pathways that do not lead to recreating your pain.  In an attempt to address this in the world of medicine, patients with chronic pain are sometimes prescribed Antidepressants (TCAs ) with the general goal being to push the pain pathway into a different area of the brain. Studies have shown this medication approach to be mostly ineffective.

Changing the movement patterns within the joints of your back or neck are important.

Different movement patterns = Different nerve pathways stimulated = Break the old pain pathway

This is the definition of chiropractic.

Can I exercise it out?
Usually, no.  Increased movement and stimulation along the current pain pathway usually increases your pain. You have to change your path.

“If you always do what you always did, you’ll always get what you always got.”
– Variously attributed to Henry Ford, Mark Twain, and Tony Robbins

If you need to heal, see Dr. Neal at Neal Clinic of Chiropractic in Pensacola.

Advice from your Pensacola Chiropractor: “It’s not nice to fool Mother Nature”

Mother Nature Chiffon Margarine ad 1970sAnybody remember the old advertisement for  Chiffon margarine that said with: “Good enough to fool Mother Nature”?  The premise was that their margarine tasted so much like butter that it might fool you.

Look at the back of the bottle of any pain medication and it will say something like, “if pain persists more than seven days, see your doctor.”  They might as well say, “quit trying to fool Mother Nature.”

Pain is a normal response and it has a source and a reason. Hiding it with a pill is the equivalent of putting a piece of black electrical tape over the “Stop Engine” light on your car’s dashboard.

Covering up your pain with an anti-inflammatory or muscle relaxer doesn’t change what’s happening in your back.  So, if a day or two of meds isn’t doing it for you, then taking it for a month or two certainly won’t. I think of pain like a row of dominoes. If the last domino is the pain, the domino before that is probably inflammation or muscle spasms, but the dominoes before that are some sort of abnormal stress on the joints that are causing the pain and the reflexive muscle spasms. It’s probably some sort of structural misalignment that creates the abnormal stress that resulting in all these symptoms…

Your pain – the last domino – is the warning light on your dashboard. Don’t cover it up.  If your car’s engine breaks, they can replace it. This isn’t the case with your spine.

If you need to heal, see Dr. Neal at Neal Clinic of Chiropractic in Pensacola!  Call 850 479 -2700

More Pensacola Chiropractor confessions : “I moved 27 railroad cross ties.”

railroad cross-tiesThe big creosote coated wooden beam that runs crosswise between the railroad tracks – the beam that they drive the spikes into – that’s a cross tie. Some people use them in their landscaping. They are big, quite heavy and bulky, and you will probably hurt your back if you move them around your yard. I know this personally. I confess that have wrestled with one or two. Once. I am a quick learner. It was my patient who moved 27!

The fact is, I talk to more people who were knocked to their knees when they bent over to pick up a pen than people who carried railroad ties or some other extreme physical stressor.

Why is that?
If you have an auto accident or fall, you expect to have some pain for a while, but the longer term effects on your back or neck are really more important.  When a trauma changes the normal alignment and movement through your neck or back, it leaves you with a residual weakness. That weaker area is prone to re-aggravation with a minimal stress, perhaps just bending over the wrong way. Because it’s not properly aligned, that weaker area will gradually degenerate, deteriorate and develop arthritis much faster than all the surrounding vertebrae and joints.

If you get occasional sharp pain in the neck or back, (even if it isn’t due to a fall or carrying railroad cross ties) get that area corrected. The sooner it’s corrected, there’s a less likelihood of arthritis or surgery in the future.  

Get it straight and get it stronger at Neal Clinic of Chiropractic in Pensacola!  call 850 479-2700