As we have discussed and went over already the nervous system plays an integral role in our everyday lives. Since our nervous system is always working and making sure that we can go about our everyday lives it also needs constant support to do its job. Proper nervous system function requires 3 important factors:
The first concept of glucose is “We are what we eat”. When you hear glucose think of sugar, but really, more importantly, the food that we eat. (Side note- sugar through candy and refined foods can be very harmful for the brain, what we are talking about here is sugar through fruits and vegetables). We aren’t going to get into the intricate details of what glucose is at this time. However, glucose is vitally important for every cell in the body, from muscles, glands, and of course the nervous system. As we mentioned last week the brain utilizes about 20% of the glucose we consume throughout the day. So not only is it important to have a proper diet but also what types of foods we eat (we want both quantity and quality). If we aren’t getting the right kinds of foods in our system this will only make other symptoms worse, such as fatigue, irritability, bloating, and even some skin conditions. When we eat the right kinds of foods we not only feel better, but we are promoting a better environment for our bodies to heal and fight off many forms of bacterial, viral, and fungal diseases. Why this is also so important is when we start doing different brain-based exercises in the office or at home (More detail later about at home exercises). We can give you, and it is always our goal, the best adjustment and exercises but if your not getting proper glucose into the system your brain and nervous system wont be able to utilize it properly. So it makes since when we say, “We are what we eat”.
There is a reason why yoga, tai chi, and even martial arts have been around for so long, it is because one major aspect is about breathing or about the breath as you are doing a certain movement. We all know we need oxygen to survive, but why is it important in a brain-based chiropractic practice? The reason for this is we just mentioned that every cell needs glucose to activate but without oxygen the activation cant even start. Think of oxygen (O2) as a traffic light where green is proper amounts and red is bad amounts and the traffic is glucose. When it is green it allows for appropriate cars (glucose) to get into the different cells but if it is red everything is at a halt. A breath consists of an inhalation and an exhalation phase. When we breathe in there are parts of the brain that get excited and when we breathe out there are other parts that get excited. These are the same areas of the brain that are responsible for pain sensation, emotionality, sleep wake cycle, eye movements, some aspects of balance, etc. This makes since because all of the above functions require a large amount of energy, glucose, and Oxygen so why not have these structures close together.
In the office we give breathing exercises to every patient. This may be in the form of concentrating on your breathe in and out, doing them as a stand alone or in conjunction with another therapy, or more of a mindfulness meditation (end of article will have more on this). Again, it doesn’t matter if we give the perfect stimulus or even proper nutrition if the brain cannot kick start the system we are battling an uphill battle. This leads us to our last topic and that is stimulus and at home exercises.
Stimulus/At home exercises:
Stimulus is our last of the 3 requirements for proper nervous system activation. However, this isn’t to say that it is the least of the 3 requirements. In fact there are many instances where we can be eating correctly and utilizing oxygen well, but if we aren’t exciting the brain and body then we can also start to get worse. This can be seen when we have been in a cast for awhile and once it is removed if we aren’t starting to get more movement into that area and proper rehab the healing process cant occur as naturally. This can also be seen after a concussion as well. Once the brain has cleared all the garbage and we are getting proper nutrition this can be a crucial time for brain activation. However, we need to make sure that it is the right stimulus for that particular case! Stimulus can be in the form of movement, exercising, walking, or in the office when we do brain rehab (eye exercises, balance training, or adjustments).
The brain loves novel stimulus. This means that it loves learning new movements, tasks, or just learning something new in general. Have you ever tried to pick up a new sport but in the beginning it was hard to do? This is because the brain hasn’t ever done that particular task before so the movement patterns for it aren’t there, but with practice it can get easier because the brain is literally learning (In later blogs we may go into muscle memory more, BUT really should be brain memory haha). So the next time your doing something new and you aren’t proficient at it just remember your brain is thanking you. In the office we try and excite the brain in different specific ways to allow for better brain activation and brain neuroplasticity. There are numerous ways that we can do this in the office by giving specific adjustments to parts of the body, complex movements to give the brain a new task, or breathing exercises to excite many parts of the brain. However, there is only so much that we can do in the office. This is where at home exercises and really even more brain activation and healing occurs.
The premise of the at home exercises is to essentially continue to activate and stimulate the brain or to leave off where we stopped in the office. This is just like playing a sport or exercising at the gym. We need to continue to excite and stimulate the brain to allow for better brain activity and to allow for better overall brain activity. We can see this when we are at work and we get so tired being in front of the computer screen that we start to doze off. If we where to get up and stretch, have a quick snack, or even walk around for a few minutes we are allowing our brains to get better stimulus, proper breathing, and even more glucose. A big philosophy for BrainSpineConnection is to allow your brain and body to be a self-healing and sustaining organism. The best ways to do that is proper exercise and adjustments (Stimulus), breathing (Oxygen), and give the brain the right fuel (glucose). When all this happens we are able to enjoy our lives and make each day count.
NEXT WEEK WE WILL BE DISCUSSING:
Practice makes PERMANENT and if I am feeling better WHY do I need to keep coming in.?
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As always we hope you have a wonderful week, let us know if you have any questions, and we will be back here next week for week 4 and finl of WHAT IS BRAIN-BASED CHIROPRACTIC?
Kilpatrick, L. A., Suyenobu, B. Y., Smith, S. R., Bueller, J. A., Goodman, T., Creswell, J. D., . . . Naliboff, B. D. (2011). Impact of mindfulness-based stress reduction training on intrinsic brain connectivity. NeuroImage,56(1), 290-298. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.02.034
Hoge, E. A., Bui, E., Palitz, S. A., Schwarz, N. R., Owens, M. E., Johnston, J. M., . . . Simon, N. M. (2018). The effect of mindfulness meditation training on biological acute stress responses in generalized anxiety disorder. Psychiatry Research,262, 328-332. doi:10.1016/j.psychres.2017.01.006
https://neuropathycure.org/foods-for-nerve-health/- Good article for some tips about proper foods for health.
Medium Chain Triglycerides (MCT) is a good source for brain health and allowing for better nerve impulses- Brain Octane Oil (can get on Amazon) is a good brand to use. It is perfect to put in coffee or shakes in the morning.