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Neural pathways

The science behind chronic conditions

Modern medicine sadly hasn’t yet caught up with the latest neuroscience, which has demonstrated over the last 20 years that chronic pain and many other persistent conditions are actually caused by nervous system dysregulation: they are learned responses to emotional or stress triggers, which have caused the brain and therefore nervous system to get stuck in ‘fight or flight’ mode, releasing stress chemicals into the body which create the physical symptoms.  Different terms are used to refer to this neurophysiological process, including the mindbody connection, psychophysiologic disorders, and tension myoneural syndrome.  We prefer to talk about chronic neuroplastic symptoms.

 

Everybody knows that emotions and thoughts can cause physical reactions in our bodies – think of the way our cheeks flush when we are embarrassed, or how we sometimes get headaches when we are stressed or overwhelmed.  Chronic neuroplastic symptoms are really just an extension of this, recognising that a great many more physical reactions can be tracked back to our mental processes, when our brains mistakenly interpret something internal as a threat to life. This is all taking place at a subconscious level, so we are generally not aware of what is happening. 

Our modern medical model tends to treat symptoms rather than tackling the root cause of persistent conditions. This is why the treatments you’ve been offered may have given you short-term relief but ultimately your condition hasn’t been resolved. In fact, it is now estimated that over 40% of people who visit their GPs actually have a condition which is rooted in nervous system dysregulation, rather than caused by any structural failing.

The good news is that chronic symptoms of this type can be reduced and often fully resolved through learning to retrain the brain and calm the nervous system. Through these methods, we can create new neural pathways in our brain, which then slows down the threat response that causes the symptoms. 

See a list of likely chronic neuroplastic symptoms and conditions here (scroll down). 

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