One of the most attractive things about the Chiropractic profession is that it gives patients more hope in their own bodies’ ability to adapt to the everyday stressors of life. We know that the adjustment is a great part of improving practice members’ function, but your attitude and outlook of your health has a bigger impact than you may have previously thought. In this blog, I want to talk about how your mind can affect your health/ ability to bounce back from any dis-ease in your system.
1. Neural connections and chronic pain
There is a lot of new research going on about neural plasticity. This deals with how and if we can reframe our mind to form new nerve connections in our brains to overcome the old nerve connections we have formed from experiences in our lives. This is especially exciting for people suffering with conditions such as Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and Obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), but can affect every one of us even in the case of chronic pain. Modern research is hinting that chronic pain can also form nerve connections in your brain. So in some cases, your brain can possibly tell you there is pain somewhere even if there is no sign of tissue damage. This could mean that in some instances the last step in your care and bettering your prognosis may be to mentally get over the limits that that pain has caused you.
2. Caring about your outcome as much as your healthcare practitioner
Taking personal action in your care plan does wonders for your attitude when it comes to your body and health. If you take the time out of your day to see a healthcare practitioner, it is usually because you would like to be relieved of whatever symptom or symptoms you are dealing with. Even if your plan from your HP is to take a pill, it still takes your effort to take the pill when you are not at the clinic. Obviously, we do not prescribe medication in our practice, and changing your habits takes more work than remembering to take a pill. The ten to thirty minutes you spend with us is important, but even more important is how you spend the rest of your day and your habits outside of being with us. It is important to follow our recommendations as closely as possible to increase your chances at getting back to one hundred percent.
3. Belief in the body’s ability to heal itself
For a long time, researchers have only used the placebo effect to determine whether something really worked or was “just in the patients head”. Only now are we beginning to study how truly powerful our brain is and how our attitudes can help us heal using placebo studies. In some instances, placebos even made physiological changes in patients! Obviously there is a limit to this and this is why there is the importance of objective findings and results in practice, but imagine what may be missing if your mind isn’t in the right place. There is also such thing as a nocebo effect, which is where you may feel a negative effect of a drug or treatment just because you expected to feel it. Instead of putting all of your beliefs and reliance on outside factors, do what is good for your body and believe in the power of your mind and body to heal from the outside stressors and germs that you come in contact with.
Our mind-body connection is interconnected both ways. Our body function and biochemical/ mechanical structure can affect our brain, just as our brain can affect our body function and adaptation of our biochemical/mechanical structure. In this blog I focused on how your brain/mind can be controlled to help you heal from whatever ailment you may be experiencing along with the necessary assistance from your health care practitioner of choice. We, as chiropractors do not belong in the medical model of being relied on whenever you have back pain and for you to come every week to stay out of trouble. We would like to assist you in regaining function where needed, and give you the means to be able to take care of yourself and see us periodically to keep your spine functioning properly. This level of health care starts with you as the individual and your actions and who you are starts with your brain and mindset.