Move Right for Brain Health
by Dr. Judy Soborowicz, Active Health Chiropractic
From our earliest days, we have had opportunity to observe our brain as the main controller of our expression, movement, and essential life processes. Our conscious impulse to move a finger, touch our toes, hug our child; or our unconscious regulation of our heart rate, breathing, healing, or digestion. Our brain function is the main organ responsible for control and coordination of the operation of both intentional and automatic body systems. Successful performance of our brain depends upon the ability for constant monitoring. Both incoming and outgoing nerve signals, to and from our brain and body, provide opportunity for instantaneous adjustments necessary for our success and survival. Our brain cell signals travel via our spinal cord and nerves that exit our spine. Like the roots of a tree, the nerves branch throughout our entire body and are constantly monitoring for our health.
Brain-body communication requires a process called “nerve firing.” When we consider how our nerves work, “firing” is a good thing! The cells in our brain are maintained in size and quantity by the very process of nerve firing. Nerve cells must be called upon to fire because the size and landscape of our entire brain depends upon it. Research has revealed that as our brain cells go through the process of nerve firing, they are prompted to build essential “insulation” around their own structure. This insulation is similar in function to the insulation on our household wiring. The efficiency, and speed, of messages traveling from our brain to our body rely upon good insulation for both protection and function. Nerve firing also initiates a process, which promotes new nerve growth; the cells in the brain actually multiply in number. Nerve cells, which do not fire, are not maintained and diminish in quantity and quality. The very act of movement in our body produces nerve firing, which travels from our body to our brain.
Because of the necessity of nerve firing, movement patterns play an essential role in maintaining the size and quantity of nerve cells and are essential to the physical landscape, and performance, of our brain. Recent research has revealed that changes in movement patterns, or gait, can begin to occur ten years prior to the onset of negative changes in the brain, including Alzheimer’s disease. The feedback to our brain from our movements is essential for the maintenance of our brain structure. When our joints do not move properly, they do not have the same ability to signal back to the brain and produce the proper firing. The quality of both the outcome and income of signals traveling from our brain through our spinal cord is affected by the movement of the bones and joints in our body. Lack of movement interrupts the maintenance of our very brain cells. Simply put, our memory and cognition are dependent upon proper movement. Having movement patterns checked could reveal that subtle skips or compensations, an old ankle sprain, or bum knee, or that back pain that always seem to hang around could be the result of a faulty movement pattern, which can be corrected with the chiropractic adjustment. Chiropractic adjustments in combination with neurological movement pattern analysis can restore proper nerve firing and help keep our brain functioning well for life.