How your brain heals itself - new hope for people with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and more

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How your brain can heal itself

Groundbreaking research offers new hope for people with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and more
Brian Bethune
January 23, 2015

A South African man with Parkinson’s disease, a degenerative disorder that often leaves its sufferers immobile, walks his symptoms into submission. A Broadway singer, silenced for 30 years by multiple sclerosis, recovers his voice. And in California, a psychiatrist and pain specialist rids himself of 13 years of chronic pain within a year, without drugs or surgery, through his brain’s own efforts. Those individuals, and thousands like them, achieved those results, writes Norman Doidge, a Toronto psychiatrist and author of The Brain’s Way of Healing, precisely because the human brain is a generalist par excellence. The prevailing 20th-century view was that it was too specialized for its own good—a fixed machine made up of discrete parts that can break down, never to function again. That concept no longer stands up to scrutiny.
The brain is actually a supple, malleable organ, as ready to unlearn as it is to learn, capable of transforming vicious circles into virtuous circles, of resetting and repairing its internal communications. Far more than once dreamed possible, the brain can—if not always cure—heal itself.
Doidge wrote about the brain’s remarkable ability to recalibrate itself—what doctors call neuroplasticity—in his 2007 bestseller The Brain That Changes Itself. His new book recounts an astounding array of radical improvements in brain problems long thought irreversible. There are newly effective therapies, leading to improvement in, and sometimes even complete cures, for conditions ranging from stroke to traumatic brain injuries, learning disorders and missing brain parts. Even Parkinson’s and MS symptoms can be improved in new ways. “Like Marshall McLuhan said, the future is already here,” says Doidge in an interview. “The early neuroplasticians had to battle to get their findings accepted but now the field is not remotely controversial. I’m no longer talking about ‘promising’ developments down the road, but therapies that are here now. Patients and their caregivers just have to know who is doing things they thought impossible.”
And, crucially, to work hard at their own care. “We have been habituated to a way of thinking,” notes Doidge, which derives from what he calls the military metaphor of medicine, “the idea that the patient is merely the passive battleground where the two antagonists, the doctor and the disease, fight it out. The patient’s job is to endure until the doctor comes up with something, or, these days, to become involved in a fundraising event that will send money to researchers so they or the drug companies can come up with the answer.” But the plastic brain, capable of so much, still needs the help of mind and body to realize its possibilities.
con't


http://www.macleans.ca/society/health/how-your-brain-heals-itself/
 

madie

Well-Known Member
I bought both of Doidge's books when I read about this, hoping to find something I could try at home. This article covers much of the most exciting work in the books, and Doidge's website, http://www.normandoidge.com/?page_id=1052, includes information about practitioners mentioned in the books.

I didn't find anything that gave me ideas of things to try at home. This research is very exciting, very new, and requires technology for the feedback loops. I'm hoping it becomes mainstream quickly.
 

h3ro

Active Member
Seems in most of these disorders its not the brain that needs to heal itself, but the immune system. When the immune system is healed the brain doesn't need any help at all.
 

ScottTriGuy

Active Member
I bought both of Doidge's books when I read about this, hoping to find something I could try at home. This article covers much of the most exciting work in the books, and Doidge's website, http://www.normandoidge.com/?page_id=1052, includes information about practitioners mentioned in the books.

I didn't find anything that gave me ideas of things to try at home. This research is very exciting, very new, and requires technology for the feedback loops. I'm hoping it becomes mainstream quickly.

I found the chapter on light / laser therapy helpful, the stuff about ATP, cell regulation, anti-inflammatory applicable to ME - the doctor that he profiled, Dr Khan, has his office in my city - I went to see him on April 22, 2015 when I was pretty much house bound, I had 3 successive days of treatment to my brain stem and was able to walk 15 minutes without PEM - I rented the laser therapy device for a few months, then bought it, with near daily self treatment at home and am now in the 'moderate' category - I've communicated with an MD with ME who has also had significant improvement, and some, but not all of her ME patients have had improvement - it is not a cure, but may improve quality of life in some.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
How your brain can heal itself

Groundbreaking research offers new hope for people with chronic pain, multiple sclerosis and more
Brian Bethune
January 23, 2015



con't


http://www.macleans.ca/society/health/how-your-brain-heals-itself/
This is really exciting stuff....I actually wrote out a blog on the first chapter, then checked with Doidge's people and they wouldn't allow me to publish. They would allow an excerpt from the book but I need a more detailed overview. I'm going to try and get in touch with Moskowitz - the doctor who pioneered the incredible pain relief program...

The first chapter had one of the most incredible pain recovery stories I have ever heard. It's a mindblower.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I found the chapter on light / laser therapy helpful, the stuff about ATP, cell regulation, anti-inflammatory applicable to ME - the doctor that he profiled, Dr Khan, has his office in my city - I went to see him on April 22, 2015 when I was pretty much house bound, I had 3 successive days of treatment to my brain stem and was able to walk 15 minutes without PEM - I rented the laser therapy device for a few months, then bought it, with near daily self treatment at home and am now in the 'moderate' category - I've communicated with an MD with ME who has also had significant improvement, and some, but not all of her ME patients have had improvement - it is not a cure, but may improve quality of life in some.
@ScottTriGuy can you say how it helped you and where it didn't help?
 

ScottTriGuy

Active Member
It decreased my nausea, moved my PEM threshold, decreased anxiety, overall felt less sick, normalized (well not normal, but less abnormal) my breathing, heart beat, and bowel movements. I use it on my brain stem.
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
It decreased my nausea, moved my PEM threshold, decreased anxiety, overall felt less sick, normalized (well not normal, but less abnormal) my breathing, heart beat, and bowel movements. I use it on my brain stem.
Definitely sounds like worth trying....Dr. Naviaux believes brain stem and vagus nerve are two key actors in ME/CFS.

Thanks :)
 

Sue Stevenson

Active Member
I so, so, so, so wish I had bought my bluetooth heart rate monitor BEFORE I started doing vagus nerve stimulation with a device called the BioTuner.

For three-four months I've used it twice daily, attaching one of the electrodes to my left ear's tragus (the bony bit on your ear near your face).

I'm feeling so much more stable. Not anywhere near well but I've been doing a few hours more work in recent times. Been on a few 30 minute gentle walks with no payback. I have good vagal tone numbers (normal for my age).

It's really surprising to me.

My partner said 18 months ago I should be in a nursing home. I just wish I had been able to measure my numbers then to compare because i can't say definitively it is the vagus nerve stimulation that's made the difference or increased antivirals etc
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
I so, so, so, so wish I had bought my bluetooth heart rate monitor BEFORE I started doing vagus nerve stimulation with a device called the BioTuner.

For three-four months I've used it twice daily, attaching one of the electrodes to my left ear's tragus (the bony bit on your ear near your face).

I'm feeling so much more stable. Not anywhere near well but I've been doing a few hours more work in recent times. Been on a few 30 minute gentle walks with no payback. I have good vagal tone numbers (normal for my age).

It's really surprising to me.

My partner said 18 months ago I should be in a nursing home. I just wish I had been able to measure my numbers then to compare because i can't say definitively it is the vagus nerve stimulation that's made the difference or increased antivirals etc
The important thing is that you're doing better. By the way the two may go together. I don't know if you read the Mestinon Miracle piece but the person who did so well on Mestinon - which helps the vagus nerve - also was taking antivirals because and her doctors thought the herpesviruses might be whacking the vagus nerve.

Thanks for passing this on.

Another by the way - the effects of vagus nerve stimulation tend to build over time - so hopefully you will slowly feel better :)
 

Cort

Founder of Health Rising and Phoenix Rising
Staff member
It decreased my nausea, moved my PEM threshold, decreased anxiety, overall felt less sick, normalized (well not normal, but less abnormal) my breathing, heart beat, and bowel movements. I use it on my brain stem.
I asked Naviaux about nausea - he thinks the brainstem and vagus nerve are big in ME/CFS and nausea, in particular, often results from vagus nerve issues.
 

Diana

New Member
My psychiatrist has used various electronic stimulation devices to help my treatment-resistant depression. After 12 years of chronic depression and anxiety, I finally found relief from a simple (but expensive) device called the Fisher-Wallace stimulator. My doctor is very kind and compassionate and let me engage in treatments in his office for free just over a year ago. My memory and cognitive abilities were tremendously enhanced. Finally, the "fibro-fog" seemed to lift. I ended up purchasing one of the devices for use at home and I still use it faithfully.

He also uses TMS, trans-cranial magnetic stimulation, which is becoming very popular for anxiety and depression here in the US. But I got more results from the electro-cranial stimulation.

He tried me out on a vagus nerve stimulator, and it seemed to decrease my body aches, but by that time my depression was so well under control that I left treatment. I was also able to return to work full-time! I didn't keep up with the VNS.

Recently I had a CFS relapse and it was nearly as bad as it had been when I was first diagnosed in 2000. I went to see him for psychotherapy and by coincidence I received a VNS treatment. I felt better the next day. I believe that this relapse was triggered by a combo of stress and the medication I take for benign essential tremor - my upper body shakes uncontrollably - and I was prescribed phenobarbital. Phenobarb is a very potent drug and I believe that it disrupted my natural sleep patterns.

I use an ear clip and one electrode patch from my TENS unit, placed just beneath my clavicle. I have the TENS unit set at 50 Hz and 150 P.W., whatever that even means? I found those settings somewhere else on this site.

The results have been very good. I really think there's something to this. I'm going to continue this treatment and see if it helps with body aches over a long course of treatment.

I wanted to give hope to anyone else out there. I don't have an expensive TENS. It's one my physician prescribed for upper back and neck pain (I'm a car wreck survivor, 2 disc fusions in neck). You don't have to go out and buy something expensive.

I also suffer from chronic migraines, and I recently underwent Botox treatment to paralyze the muscles that cause the migraines. It is reported to work in 50% of patients, and I'm one of the lucky ones.

Blessings!
 

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