Is it Possible to Retrain your Brain?
It is indeed possible to retrain your brain in a process that has a medical term “neuroplasticity”. Effectively through exercises taught by professionals, you can help your brain to rewire itself when it recognises the need for change. In other words, to process information in alternative ways which in a situation involving chronic pain, can help bypass the neural pathway (pain nerves) which results in the sensation of pain.
For example, if brain trauma after an accident affects your ability to speak, you haven't necessarily lost this ability permanently. Therapy and rehabilitation can help your brain relearn this ability by repairing old pathways and creating new ones.
One such study regularly employed in the management of chronic pain is desensitisation, which effectively encourages touch to an injured body part to stimulate normal nerve responses and to reduce sensitivity. Clinicians may use exposure to a range of textures as well as water submersion and exposure to heat or cold temperatures in order to stimulate normal nerve function.
People commonly will avoid use of an injured body part following injury, if use of that body part causes pain. Disuse can exacerbate pain and sensitivity over time, so desensitisation is really important in preventing secondary deterioration and to encourage normal sensation and function.
Another method regularly employed in the treatment of chronic pain is mirror-box therapy. This is a process where an injured limb is hidden from view behind a mirror and the opposite good limb is seen in the reflection. This simple technique tricks the mind into believing the injured limb to be “normal” in terms of perceived appearance and movement.
Neuroplasticity also seems to have a role in the treatment of certain mental health conditions. It is felt that such conditions may result from interrupted or impaired neuroplasticity processes. With expert support you can promote positive neuroplasticity to “rewrite" these patterns to improve well-being. Often there will be an overlap between physical pain and an emotional response to pain or pre-existing vulnerability.
How can I Stimulate Positive Neuroplasticity?
Rewiring your brain sounds difficult, though it's actually something we can all do by employing simple techniques to promote good health daily.
Here are some things you can do which stimulate positive neuroplasticity and each of these can be employed as part of breaking the pain cycle as well as just encouraging healthy living:
Play Video Games
The benefits associated with gaming are vast, and include improvements in the following:
Fine motor skills
Learn a new Language
There's a lot of evidence to suggest that learning a new language improves cognitive function and density of grey matter in the brain. Grey matter houses many important regions in your brain, including areas associated with:
Studying a new language at any age can lead to improvements in many areas, including but not limited to:
Better creating thinking skills
Greater reading comprehension
Learn to Play an Instrument
Not only is this a fantastic hobby to pick up, but learning how to play an instrument can help to improve many areas of the brain, such as:
The ability to learn and remember new information
Distraction from pain
Experiencing new scenery and surroundings can help you learn about different cultures and become a better communicator. Visiting new places can also help broaden your general worldview, which can help to open your mind and give you a new perspective on things closer to home, for example your career goals, friendships or personal values. It may also build your self-confidence and well-being.
Times are hard for many, so rather than costly foreign travel, why not try taking a long walk through a new neighbourhood or village, or do your grocery shopping in a different town. You could even try a hike if you feel up to it! All of these things help to encourage cognitive flexibility.
Exercise offers a number of physical benefits, including stronger muscles, improved fitness and health, and encourages better sleep. Aerobic exercise in particular — can lead to improvements in cognitive abilities like learning and memory.
According to some studies exercise also helps improve fine motor coordination and brain connectivity and may protect against cognitive deterioration.
Arts & Crafts
Creating art can help you see the world in new, unique ways. You might use art to sort through and express emotions, share personal experiences, or get deeper insight on personal struggles, for example.
Some studies suggest art forms such as drawing, and painting directly benefit your brain by enhancing creativity and improving cognitive abilities. Drawing can also offer benefits of allowing your brain to change focus away from pain.
If you have long-term chronic pain as a result of an accident or injury we can direct you to experts or services that might be able to assist you with re-training your brain.
Contact FT Chronic Pain Solicitors today
Contact us today and see how FT Chronic Pain Solicitors may be able to change your life.
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