BRAIN BASED THERAPY MISSOURI
For years, the question I asked myself was why some of my Fibromyalgia patients got better, and others did not? Why weren't all (or at least the vast majority) of my Fibromyalgia patients getting dramatically better by following a few simple recommendations --- cleaning up their diet, decreasing at least some of the stressors mentioned in the paragraph above, taking a HIGH QUALITY OMEGA- 3 FISH OIL, supplementing with a good adrenal support formula, and getting adjusted on a regular basis?
Until I started studying the work of Drs. Datis Kharrazian and TED CARRICK, I truly had no idea ---- no idea that Fibromyalgia, along with numerous other Chronic Conditions, are frequently Brain-Based Metabolic Problems that cause the various body systems (neurological, cardiovascular, digestive, etc) to malfunction in ways that don't show up with standard medical testing. And unfortunately, most therapeutic interventions for Chronic Conditions do not focus enough (or at all) on the brain. Like Gray's Anatomy says, the brain controls every function of the body. Ignore it to your own detriment! When the brain is malfunctioning, it causes other areas of the body to malfunction as well. The problem begins to feed itself and become a self-perpetuating, vicious cycle.
Follow along as I lead you on a journey through the brain. Learn why Fibromyalgia and numerous other Chronic Conditions frequently have their roots in brain dysfunction. But be warned: Fibromyalgia is not a pathology / disease process that is going to show up on an MRI or Brain Scan ---- it's a "Functional" Neurological / Endocrine / Metabolic problem (HERE). See how a misfiring brain can cause Fibromyalgia as well as all sorts of other Chronic Conditions. Stay with me for a few minutes and learn how Brain-Based Therapy might be the very thing that could reboot your brain, bring it back to life, and make it fire properly again. And help you get better in the process.
A TWO-PRONGED SOLUTION FOR CHRONIC CONDITIONS
PRONG I: Neurology
How Does the Brain Work?
The most well-known of all medical textbooks, Gray's Anatomy, tells us something that we learned back in fourth grade health class --- that every single function of the human body is controlled by the brain.
"The Nervous System is the most complicated and highly organized of the various systems which make up the human body. It is the mechanism concerned with the correlation and integration of various bodily processes and the reactions and adjustments of the organism to its environment." Henry Gray from the 1918 edition of Gray's Anatomy
When functioning normally, the cerebellum, or "lower brain," which sits in the back bottom part of the skull, fires off messages to the opposite side Cerebral Cortex. This in turn, stimulates the brainstem (Mesencephalon, Pons, and Medulla). This feedback system is called, appropriately enough, "The Brain Loop".
The Brain Loop
The brain's ability to function is enhanced by increasing the frequency of firing to specific nerve cells called neurons. In many ways, these neurons are similar to other body tissues, including muscles. The more they are stimulated the healthier and stronger they become. To a point. But just like muscles, neurons can be abused, injured, or over-stimulated as well. This leads to all sorts of problems, including a form of Neural Deterioration called Trans Nerural Degeneration (more to come shortly).
When everything works in synch, your brain and the various cells, organs, glands, and tissues of your body, are connected by optimally functioning nerve pathways. The brain acts as the conductor or “Maestro” and directs the music, while The Body acts the part of the orchestra and plays the music. A properly functioning nerve system is like one of Mozart's masterpieces. The Maestro feeding off of and directing the orchestra, and the individual musicians interacting with each other to weave their various and diverse parts into a beautiful symphony.
But when certain nerve pathways become over or under stimulated, a brain imbalance begins to take shape. And like many other feedback loop deficiencies, it can quickly become self-perpetuating. When the Brain Loop's feedback mechanisms fail, the orchestra (the body) can no longer follow the conductor (the brain). The conductor fails to grasp that the orchestra is quickly turning the masterpiece into a muddle. Mistakes become the norm. The once beautiful music sounds increasingly tortured, distorted, and incoherent.
As you can imagine, when this kind of failure occurs in the brain, all sorts of neurologically-based health problems begin to arise and perpetuate themselves. The body itself becomes increasingly tortured, distorted, and incoherent. Chronic Pain and dysfunction become the norm. And why has your doctor not been able to help you? Largely because while doctors understand gross pathology, they do not understand the intricacies of the Brain Loop.
NORMAL BRAIN LOOP
THE BATTLE FOR YOUR BRAIN
Brain-Based Therapy attempts to slow down cellular death. Unfortunately, cellular death and neurological degeneration are a natural part of life. However, Chronic Conditions of ill health hyper-accelerate both of these processes, leading to the problems listed above. Brain Based Therapy slows down this inevitable degeneration and helps restore brain function. With improved brain function comes improved health, decreased pain, and an increased quality of life.
Our average “Chronic Conditions” patient has tried numerous other doctors and treatments. They have reached a place where they no longer have normal Parasympathetic Nerve Dominance. In simple English, this means that they have lost the body's desired state of neurological balance.
Instead, these people tend to live out their lives in a state of SYMPATHETIC DOMINANCE. Sympathetic Dominance is the body's “Fight or Flight” mechanism run amok. Sympathetic Dominance can cause elevated heart rate and blood pressure, anxiety, dry mouth, digestive disorders, allergies, an inability to calm down or sleep (even though one feels exhausted). Even though these people may feel tired and sluggish all of the time, their bodies have become hyperactive, hypersensitive, and hyper-reactive to their environment. On top of all this, the Adrenal Glands are turned to the "on" position and continue dumping adrenaline, cortisol, and other stress hormones into the bloodstream. As you might have guessed, this leads to numerous health problems including Fibromyalgia / Chronic Fatigue. If you understand the picture below, you will grasp this concept.
YOUR TWO NERVOUS SYSTEMS
SYMPATHETIC -vs- PARASYMPATHETIC
Besides the stressors listed above, physical trauma can cause brain injury that leads to Sympathetic Dominance. This can come in the form of SPORTS INJURIES (including over-training), CAR ACCIDENTS, horse accidents, falls, head traumas (with or without loss of consciousness), physical abuse, difficult repetitive jobs, as well as numerous others.
The effects of these various “stressors” accumulate over time until they finally reach “critical mass”. Critical Mass is the 'tipping point' --- the point where the body's tolerance to resist this bombardment of chemical, mechanical, emotional, and dietary stress is diminished so greatly, that symptoms start manifesting themselves visibly and tangibly. In the words of the famous medical whiplash researchers Drs. Gargan and Bannister, people find themselves increasingly living with an array of, "diverse and seemingly unrelated problems".
When the brain is imbalanced, its normal firing sequence is interrupted. This presents big problems. In order for the body to be able to heal itself, it needs to be 'reset' or 'restarted' --- kind of like "rebooting" a locked up computer. This is where Brain Based Therapy comes in.
HOW DOES BRAIN BASED THERAPY WORK?
Neurons (nerve / brain cells) require two things to function properly and remain healthy: Activation and Fuel
- I.) The Proper Amount of Neurological Stimulation (Activation)
- 2A.) The Proper Amount of Oxygen (Fuel)
- 2B.) The Proper Amount of Blood Sugar / Glucose (Fuel)
FUNCTIONS OF THE BRAIN
WHAT HAPPENS WHEN IT ALL BREAKS DOWN?
Nerve impulses from receptors throughout the body (touch, balance, pressure, pain, PROPRIOCEPTION, control of postural muscles, etc) move firstly through the spinal nerves and then through the spinal cord where they are delivered to the so-called "lower" part of the brain in the back of your skull. This area is called “The Cerebellum”.
In the recent past, it was believed that the function of the Cerebellum was equilibrium and the coordination of movement. However, science has recently revealed that the Cerebellum does more than that --- far more. The Cerebellum actually controls all neural impulses.
After nerve impulses arrive at the cerebellum, they are transmitted to the Frontal Lobe of the Brain Cortex. So, you ask, if the “lower” part of the brain (The Cerebellum) to some degree, controls all neural impulses, then what is the “higher” part of the brain even (The Cerebral Cortex) needed for? Great question!
At this point, the function of the Cerebral Cortex is to act as a “signal booster” (like a cell phone tower) and provide an increase in the frequency of firing. Also, without normal stimulation from the lower brain (The Cerebellum), the higher brain (The Cerebral Cortex) looses its ability to actively control the body's so-called “primal functions”. In plain English, this means that your body begins to loose its ability to regulate itself – most particularly the balance centers, postural muscles, and termination of eye movements.
If one side of the cerebellum is not receiving enough nerve input, it cannot send sufficient numbers of nerve impulses to the frontal lobe of the Cortex, which in turn, can’t send enough input to the lower brainstem to put the brakes on the mesencephalon and keep it from over-firing. We will cover the over-firing mesencephalon shortly.
As stated a moment ago, a key portion of the Cerebellar aspect of the “Brain Loop” has to do with postural muscles --- the muscles on either side of your spine / neck. A misfiring cerebellum will cause one side of the postural muscles to be in constant spasm, which will cause constant imbalances in the vertebrae as well (this is why some individuals have significant motion imbalances even after undergoing our SCAR TISSUE REMODELING). Individual vertebrae will 'lock up' and become restricted in their normal movement (chiropractors call this “subluxation”), and as you can imagine, this leads to all sorts of chronic musculoskeletal problems. These include CHRONIC BACK AND NECK PAIN, MIGRAINE HEADACHES, DEGENERATIVE ARTHRITIS, DISC HERNIATION, SCIATICA, joint pain, and others including DIZZINESS & VERTIGO.
When the Cortex receives insufficient input from the Cerebellum it becomes incapable of properly controlling the brainstem's various functions. Because of this, a process called Trans Neural Degeneration sets in. Trans Neural Degeneration never gets better by itself. The longer you have Trans Neural Degeneration, the faster your brain dies.
DIMINISHED CEREBELLAR DYSFUNCTION MAY LEAD TO
The Brainstem is where your brain actually becomes the spinal cord, and is made up of the mescencephalon (the upper portion), the pons, and the medulla (the lower portion). It regulates numerous functions of the body, many of which fall under a large category referred to as “autonomic function” (they occur without any sort of conscious thought process, breathing, heart rate, digestion, etc, etc, etc). The brainstem also contains highly specialized groups of cells called the Cranial Nerves which are responsible for the special senses. These 12 pairs of nerves control vision, eye movement, hearing, balance, taste, facial movement and sensation, and even organ function. And not only does it contain the highly important Cranial Nerves, the brainstem happens to be the part of the brain where many critical neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine are produced (can anyone say "Depression"?).
AN OVERFIRING MESENCEPHALON
However, once stress interrupts the “Brain Loop”, the mesencephalon is left to fire unchecked. Remember our earlier discussion on the problems associated with Sympathetic Dominance? The brain gets locked in a sympathetic (fight or flight) response, creates imbalances in Cranial Nerve function, and ends up with a mesencephalon that is stuck on hyper-drive. Because the mesencephalon has several very specific functions, an overactive mesencephalon will usually manifest with very specific symptoms. These symptoms are fatigue, light sensitivity (Photophobia), Gut complaints (digestive / bowel / IBS), insomnia, Chronic Pain, attention problems, mental fog, heart palpitations and arrhythmias, etc. It also happens to cause the symptoms that doctors today call Fibromyalgia.
As you are beginning to notice, Brainstem malfunctions cause many of the Chronic Conditions that continue to befuddle the Medical Community. Brain-Based Problems create suffering patients who frequently struggle mightily even though they are having lots of doctor visits and taking lots of medications. Everyone knows lots of these folks.
THE OVER-FIRING BRAINSTEM
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“The longer the individual has had Fibromyalgia, the greater the gray matter loss, with each year of fibromyalgia being equivalent to 9.5 times the loss in normal aging”. McGill University Centre for Research
Think about this for a moment. Every single year you or someone you love lives with Fibromyalgia (or other Chronic Pain Syndromes), is the equivalent of nearly 10 times the brain loss seen in one year of the normal aging process. Re-read this paragraph until it sinks in! You will never again wonder why people in Chronic Pain age so rapidly.
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THE BRAIN LOOP
NORMAL -vs- ABNORMAL
If you have read this far, you are an amateur neurologist and probably know more about the subject than your family doctor. The question now becomes, what can be done about it? I realize that you have already tried just about everything that you thought you could try. It's time for a very different approach. How about increasing the neruroplasticity in the brain and the nervous system!
Brain-Based Therapy concentrates on locating the deficient nerve pathways which are creating the neurological imbalance. The neurological examination is designed to locate imbalances in the cerebellum, brain stem, and cortex. A brain-specific treatment protocol is then created with the goal of strengthening or rebuilding these injured or deficient nerve pathways.
This is done the same way a person learns to ride a bike, or play piano, or speak the Chinese language, or become a better free throw shooter --- by repetition. Only instead of shooting thousands of free throws, frequency of firing is increased by providing Fuel and Activation (we spoke of these things earlier). This comes in the form of Fuel and Activation. These include:
- Pathway-Specific Neurological Activation & Exercises
- Nutritional Therapy and Proper Blood Sugar Levels
- Oxygen Therapy.
THE SECOND PRONG OF BRAIN BASED THERAPY
Functional Neurologists Datis Kharazzian and Ted Carrick have shown that numerous Chronic Conditions can be dramatically improved if the treating physician will simply reset the body's neurology, and balance the body's metabolism. This means that there might be nutritional supplements involved in the process. It also means that depending on how inflamed the brain is, what foods you are sensitive (or allergic) to, and just how well (or poorly) you eat; you may have to modify your diet. We will delve into this subject in more detail shortly.
- FOOD SENSITIVITIES / ALLERGIES: Two of the most common are GLUTEN and DAIRY, although people can be sensitive to virtually anything. There are any number of different tests for this, but I have found that a good old ELIMINATION DIET works as well as anything.
- BLOOD CHEMISTRY READINGS: If you want to understand why this is critical (even though you've probably had all sorts of blood tests in the past, just Google "Functional Blood Test". One of the most common of these is ANEMIA. This is also where you might do a complete THYROID PANEL.
- AUTOIMMUNITY: Failure to deal with underlying AUTOIMMUNITY is a deal-breaker as far as getting well is concerned. It is also important to figure out which part of the Immune System (TH-1 or TH2) is not working properly (HERE).
- GUT INTEGRITY: Do you have INCREASED INTESTINAL PERMEABILITY? If so, all bets are off until you deal with it. Once you realize that 80% of your entire Immune System is found in the Gut, this becomes that much more important.
- DYSBIOSIS: DYSBIOSIS is typically caused by ANTIBIOTICS as well as the ANTIBIOTIC-LIKE effects of virtually all drugs, and then fed by the HIGH CARB LIFESTYLE. Take a look at the bullet point below for the tests. Tons of information in my GUT HEALTH posts. This could mean things like MOLD and CANDIDA --- which many people believe are intimately related to CANCER. It could also be an issue with HYPOCHLORHYDRIA & H. PYLORI.
- PARASITES: All too common HERE in America.
- ADRENAL INSUFFICIENCY: The Adrenal Panel is critical for those who might have Fibromyalgia (aka ADRENAL FATIGUE). This is a saliva test called an ASI.
- HORMONE LEVELS: Although this could mean almost anything, it is most frequently dealing with SEX HORMONES and specifically ESTROGEN DOMINANCE something called .
- WHOLE BODY / BRAIN INFLAMMATION LEVELS: INFLAMMATION is one of those words that everyone throws around, but no one really understands. Figure out what's driving Inflammation in your body and you've just figured out how to get well.