The nervous system is a fascinating system.
As complex as the system can get, the nervous system is based on a very simple process. Our nervous system takes in information from our senses (sight, sound, touch, taste, touch, smell, and proprioception). Once that information comes in, the brain processes it to produce a healthy response and functions.
However, our senses don’t just tell our brain about the world around us, they also drive the development of new brain connections in important ways.
If the brain is not getting accurate sensory information from the body, it can actually cause significant neurological problems.
Dr. Robert Melillo in his book Disconnected Kids frames it perfectly:
“The senses and the processes that stimulate the brain are closely entwined. Although the brain is able to provide a certain amount of stimulation on its own (dreaming is the best example) it is mostly dependent on outside sources to spark neural growth (new brain connections). The outside sources of natural environmental stimuli on which the brain depends are: light, sound or vibration, odor, taste, temperature, touch, pressure, and gravity.”
While most individuals recognize that the brain is not functioning properly in neurodevelopmental conditions, they fail to recognize that the brain is constantly changing and that it can actually improve.
The wondrous ability of the brain to adapt is called neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity is the process of the nervous system rewiring to make new connections.
The concept of neuroplasticity tells us that the brain changes structurally and functionally based upon our experiences. The more we do a particular activity such as driving a car or swinging a golf club, the more the brain creates stronger connections and pathways which make that activity even easier.
The process of the brain making new connections is how we learn any new skill or activity. While these changes are often good and make life easier, the brain can also create connections that are less than ideal. The brain may actually create negative pathways that perpetuate undesirable habits or neurophysiological functioning.
This concept and process of neuroplasticity actually holds great hope for those with neurodevelopmental disorders. It means that there is great room for improvement by improving the information the brain receives. This is why many therapies such as occupational therapy and music therapy are often beneficial.
While these therapies are aimed at giving the brain more appropriate information, chiropractic’s goal is removing interference to the information as it is being transmitted to the brain. This is one of the major reasons we see such great improvement in the health and function of the children we see in our practice.
All my best,
Dr. Garrett Gripp
P.S. Do you know someone who could benefit from this info? Consider forwarding it to them so they can benefit from it as well!