If 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.
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.