If you'd rather learn how to change your own brain using self-talk techniques please click on 'Change Your Words - The Book in the MENU above.
If you'd like to know more about me, read on.
There's something magical about feeling differently just by stepping on a pattern
I’m 6 feet 2 inches tall. I have lived with a progressively deteriorating ankle and left leg for over 30 years using orthotics made to help me control my gait and yet, in recent years, the ankle problem has been getting worse such that friends and colleagues had begun to comment on my worsening limp. I had coped with the problem for a long time but eventually, because of the increasing pain and restricted movement I was experiencing in my lower back, as a result of my body compensating for the weak left leg, my wife suggested I start looking into if there was anything that could be done to alleviate the problem - before it got to a stage where I wouldn’t be able to walk at all. She often said I was likely to fall off the pavement due to the weak ankle and ‘wobbly’ walk I had developed. She said I would soon not be able to get up stairs - which is where the problem was most evident as my left foot tended to turn over onto the outside as I stepped on it going upstairs. I couldn’t carry a cup of tea upstairs without spilling a little! The problem was also more noticeable on rising ground so climbing even gentle inclines and stairs was becoming more and more tricky - and increasingly painful! Like many men, I had simply refused to accept my frailties, but it had reached the point where I literally had to take some steps to dealing with it.
So I asked my GP to refer me to a specialist to look into potential treatments and, over the course of several months, went through a series of scans and tests which revealed nothing significant that could be addressed - it was suggested that surgery might, eventually, if things got worse, be the only option - but the inconclusive results led to the summation that the problem must be neurological and I was referred on to a neurology specialist whose investigations led to nothing more than the fact that the left leg was slightly (a single figure percentage) less responsive to electric stimulation than the right leg which was deemed to be ‘normal’. There was no treatment that was likely to improve things (other than surgery to pin the ankle to improve stability, which was deemed to be non-urgent). This was not an outcome I had expected but by this time I had already started thinking, ‘What exactly was ‘a neurological dysfunction’, how did activity in my brain relate to my ankle and was it likely to get worse?
"I couldn’t carry a cup of tea upstairs without spilling it"
My wife went into high-anxiety mode and thought it might be Motor Neurone Disease or Multiple Sclerosis (which her father had suffered from for half of his life) and we shared a few weeks of concern until I had seen a second neurologist who assured me it was neither of these much more life-limiting diseases, and the problem was unlikely to deteriorate significantly in future years. Phew!
I should add here, because it is relevant, that, due to asking my GP about my ankle problem, he also suggested I have a health M.O.T. as I hadn’t had one previously, and this revealed a slight aberration with my heart rhythm which resulted in my being prescribed medication AND told not to exercise too energetically. This had a bearing on how I was to address both issues. With lockdown following along quickly I was not able to access the support that was initially offered.
Discovering My Amazing Brain
I was less than impressed by the outcome which was basically presented to me as, “There’s little to work on so come back in 12 months to review how things are going” - and so, having ‘that’ kind of curious mind, I started doing a bit of research on how such an obviously physical (to me) issue could be due to a function of the brain. I found and read all sorts of scientific/medical material, sourced mainly on the internet - it’s all out there - and learned about some of the amazing things going on in our brains and, more importantly, some of the scientific research being done around the world. It struck me, whilst doing this, that the internet is a good metaphor for how our brains transmit information (most of us don’t actually know, do we?) but the brain goes a huge step further than transmitting ‘data’ in that it also manages itself - no active human involvement required, not even from ourselves. As long as it is nourished via the food we eat and what we drink, it doesn’t rely on any other external inputs (that we are aware of!) to keep our bodies functioning normally in order to keep us alive and breathing (imagine going to bed at night and trying to ‘manage’ your life force to ensure you wake up in the morning - you’d get no sleep at all!) so we actually have very little to do to manage our brains on a physiological level. So, feed it, nourish it and avoid brain-damaging drugs and toxic elements is the key message I took away from my research. Many of us don’t look after our bodies and this plays into the hands of the pharmaceutical industry. WE end up paying for our lack of interest in our own health!
On a cognitive level, it’s a different story, whereby we have a great deal of influence over our conscious thoughts - we can think about anything we like and (in simplistic terms) the make-up of our brains can dictate what we do, how we respond to events and, of course, how we feel about things. In the case of my ‘neurological’ problem, it also means the root cause of the issue lies in how my brain is handling the process of making my leg do what it needs to do; what I take for granted it will do reliably and repetitively, because when this doesn’t happen ‘automatically’, that’s when I FEEL the impact through the sense of weakness in my ankle and lack of control over the placement of my leg, which presents itself as a limp and which I then consciously have to try to manage in order to perform the function of walking without suffering too much from the pain doing so can cause. Many people with similar mobility issues will recognise this scenario and will, as a result, experience pain, often, of an excruciating nature - the brain’s way of bringing the problem to our conscious attention. Many will be taking medication to help them manage the issue, or rather, manage the pain caused by the issue, and this is where the crux of the problem lies. Managing pain is all well and good but drugs are not going to change the cause of the problem or help the brain address the issue itself. We aren’t addressing the problem; we’re just masking it and this means the actual issue is likely to get worse, not better.
My Brain Is Protecting Itself From Me!
My brain, I have discovered, has, as I get older, worked hard to minimise the pain I might have suffered much more acutely IF my leg/ankle problem had been worse (and I would have had to address it much earlier of course) and I may also have had to use medication on a prolonged basis. But, I have been lucky to some extent and only relatively recently have I begun to experience what you might call debilitating pain. My personal research has revealed that the pain we feel is generated within the brain, not in the place where our physical body has an issue, so, for example, whilst we can apply a medicinal salve to the area which may be problematic, (or take pills for the pain) the active ingredients in the medication are actually affecting my brain which responds by sending chemicals to the areas within the brain that deal with the ‘experience’ of pain. Please forgive me if this comes across as too simplistic, but I’m not a scientist, neither am I a medical professional, but this is how I understand what I have learned from research produced by people who ARE - this may not be ‘rocket-science’ but neither is it based on spurious anecdotal say-so.
Please do your own investigations and you will understand your own particular condition much better and be able to take more control of the issues you may have that could even be life-limiting. I guarantee, if you look with genuine interest you will amaze yourself by what you discover - our brains truly are much more sophisticated and ‘powerful’ than we can begin to imagine - in fact, I’d go as far as to say, our brains may actively limit our ability to explore it too deeply to protect itself from human error, if you get my drift. Research scientists may eventually discover things that literally ‘blow your mind’. But that’s probably a long way off.
For me, knowledge is power. The power to make good choices for my own health and the knowledge that many of us erroneously assume our doctors and consultants already have such knowledge - most only focus their own knowledge in areas THEY are interested in and they can’t be interested in everything and may have very little experience of the issue that YOU are trying to address. If you take nothing else from this article, please recognise the truth of the fact that we give away our own power by abdicating responsibility for our health to others in whom we have, of necessity, to place our trust, but we can, and I would argue, should, take more responsibility for finding out more about our physical (and mental) physiology in order to understand how vulnerable our bodies can be to external and self-imposed factors, such as poor diet, drugs and alcohol, excess sugar and salt intake and so on and so forth.
So back to my brain. It is doing its best to manage my issue but the issue is slowly getting worse. Why is this? Perhaps I should have been doing more exercise focused on helping my leg operate more reliably? That’s what my wife believes, and she may be right - she usually is! Cop out moment: The Consultant called me just before lockdown started and told me not to do too much exercise until I had been assessed for heart management.
But how has the degeneration of the condition been experienced in my brain? After all, surely it could adapt and focus its attention on keeping me stable and reliably mobile? Well, of course, it HAS, it does, but even the brain has it’s limitations or, in a case like this, other priorities; other functions that take precedence over a relatively ‘manageable’ situation. If it gets to the stage where the pain becomes unbearable, I would, of course, be forced to take it far more seriously, as no doubt millions of people HAVE TO in order to keep some level of sanity in the battle against daily pain.
The scientific bit - in layman’s terms
The problem for the brain, research suggests, is that the neurological pathways which interconnect throughout the brain - imagine a motorway system or the internet (but without the wi-fi) - can become overloaded by the many different issues it has to manage on a milli-second basis and, as I mentioned earlier, even the brain has its limitations. There are a limited number of these ‘neurological highways’ and if too much traffic is channelled along too few of them (traffic lights let too many cars onto a stretch of road), there is an overload of sorts and the brain’s own self-management system becomes ‘clogged’ with ‘traffic’ (I’m still trying to keep it easy to understand). Thus, some of the issues that you might need dealing with have to take a back seat as the brain decides (probably with good reason) to focus on something else. Important note: This level of activity is performed by the brain without you even knowing it’s going on and, quite frankly, there’s precious little you CAN do about it! Well, that’s not totally true, because if it was all those pills and other ‘interventions’ wouldn’t be worth the price. Bear in mind that we are not talking about COGNITIVE interventions (how to THINK differently or overcome anxiety, for example) because there is a chasm of difference between addressing your conscious (and subconscious) brain activity and addressing the underlying ‘life-management system’ that the brain is in charge of. Do not for one moment BELIEVE (that’s a conscious function) that you can think your way to changing these deep-seated functions because you can’t, well not with your own conscious brain power. You have to take another kind of action.
The brain, I have learnt, is a complex network of neurons, neurological pathways and synapses that switch on and off, deliver chemical and electrical information from one place to another and generally does so very efficiently in order to keep you functioning on a fairly even keel. BUT when things go wrong in the body, the brain has to respond to deal with the ‘threat’ and this is where things get tricky to explain. Your brain is sending information from one area to another but if there is too much going on, it struggles to affect the issue as well as it might and this is experienced generally as pain and usually sends us running for chemical help. But the chemicals we use to deal with the pain only mask the issue which doesn’t actually go away. What needs doing is to help the brain find other routes to reach the problem. Think about it like this: If you’re off on a trip using the train and something happens up ahead on the line you could be stuck for a while so you either get redirected on another train or have to use a temporary bus service to reach your destination. The brain sometimes has similar issues and needs ‘resetting’ (a bit like using Control, Alt, Delete on your computer, restarting it and clearing the glitch) so that it all works again. Now, of course, you can’t switch off the brain and restart it but you CAN ‘rebalance’ it to enable it to find new neurological pathways which enables it to address the issues in the body more effectively - i.e. take a detour and get you to your intended destination. This is what neurological technology offers your brain. It has no side-effects because it doesn’t use chemicals or electrical devices and for most people it truly is (excuse me) a No-Brainer! From what I’ve learned it promises to become the go-to treatment for people suffering from pain and long term chronic problems and I for one know that it works! There are already thousands of others who swear by it to help them improve their ability to function and even enjoy a more fulfilling life.
How I Found My ‘Magic’ Solution
I’d been doing my research and was getting on with normal life as best I could, awaiting the review date with my consultant which was six months hence, when, purely by chance, at a business networking event, I spotted a man who was busily demonstrating something to a couple of people (after the event, when you tend to chat to those people of most interest to you) which has since been the focus of my waking life because, having asked the inevitable questions and experienced the demonstration myself, there and then, I have found it to be both effective in helping me feel more stable, mobile and confident in my movement AND in relieving the pain I had occasionally experienced, when my body was over-compensating for the problem with my balance and mobility. There have been other noticeable beneficial effects in using the technology too.
Using the tech has also been affecting my state of mind such that I am much calmer, can think much more purposefully and am increasingly confident and open-minded about my future - this has not been the case for several months due to lack of work and managing both business and personal difficulties. These issues are now more manageable allowing me to focus on moving ahead with my business plans which mainly involve property development/investment with my architect daughter. However, this was all before lockdown came to visit us.
The solution to almost any health issue lies in the brain and when the brain needs support, neurological technology can provide relief and benefits you may not expect.
Contact Chris at:
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or call 07771 914216