The pain of a broken arm, an injured low back, a stomachache, or migraine are all pretty obvious. These physical pains are cues to us that there is something not right. What happens when your brain is “sick” and “hurting”?
The reason you are able to sense pain in the first place is because of receptors located all throughout your body that transmit pain signals to the brain. When there is damage being done to the tissues of your body you will feel pain. When you are sick you may feel pain because of the activation of these pain receptors. The difference between your brain and the rest of your body is the fact that your brain contains no pain receptors. Therefore your brain can’t feel pain. This is how a person can undergo brain surgery while they are awake and only need anesthesia for the scalp and skull cutting. Once the brain is exposed the surgeon can poke, prode and pinch the brain with no pain being felt.
So if your stomach hurts with the flu, and your joints ache with arthritis, and your chest hurts without enough oxygen…what does your brain do when it’s hurting? Alterations in brain lead to imbalances in the motor systems of your brain. One obvious motor system is your physical motor system. This is what allows you to throw a football, tie your shoes, feed yourself, and walk. These are all motor systems. When your brain is “hurting” or “in trouble” you can see alterations in the physical motor systems. Your posture might be altered, your movement patterns might be dysfunctional, your head rotation or eye deviation may be skewed, or your range of motion may be diminished. These can all be signs of negative changes in the brain that are leading to problems in the physical motor system.
Another motor system that is not so obvious is the emotional loops of the brain that are responsible for our thoughts, emotions, behavior and attitude. Your thoughts and behavior are the result of motor functions occurring in the brain. So instead of physical postural changes you may be noting depression, anxiety, attention deficit, or learning disabilities.
Many of the neurobehavioral problems that many children face are not the result of “Ritalin deficiency”, but rather the result of a brain that is hurting. Much of the depression plaguing our society is not some “Prosac deficiency”, but rather a brain that is not working properly. So to recap, when your brain is hurting you won’t feel pain, but you will manifest disturbances in your motor systems. These can be either physical or emotional. Chiropractic neurologists and functional medicine practitioners are well-equipped to identify and improve “broken brains”.
In our next post we will discuss some of the causes of a “hurting” and “broke” brain. Until then go check out the Magnificent Seven Lifestyle and do something nice for your brain!