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Sheltering Arms Blog

The power of neuroplasticity!

Sheltering Arms Therapist & Patient

Posted on: January 30, 2018 by Robert Moss

By Angela Elmore, PT, MPT

We once believed that the brain did not change after childhood. Scientific advances now tell us that this is not true. The brain can and does change throughout our lives. The brain is adaptable and flexible like plastic. Scientists call this brain adaptability NEUROPLASTICITY.

How does neuroplasticity work?  Think of our brain as a connected power grid in our bodies, with billions of pathways lighting up every time we think, feel, or do something. Some of these pathways are well used and control our habits, the way we react to a particular situation, the way we move, and what we feel or sense.

When we start thinking of things differently, when we learn a new task, or when we try a new way of doing something, we develop new pathways in the brain. The more that we practice the new tasks, the stronger the new pathway connections become. These connections strengthen as old habits and actions weaken.

We all have the ability to learn and change by rewiring our brain connections. Any new task and new habit we perform is a way neuroplasticity works in our daily lives. Out goes the saying “you cannot teach an old dog and new trick.” In fact, you can teach an old dog a new trick.

When there is damage to the circuits in our brain, for various reasons such trauma, stroke, multiple sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease as examples, we still have the ability to rewire our brain and to develop these new pathways to allow us to better move, and think, and feel. Rehabilitation techniques such as movement therapy, functional electrical stimulation, gait/treadmill retraining with body weight support, and robot-assisted therapy are some of the methods used to help direct and guide the development of new circuits to compensate for any losses due to damage to primary brain circuits.

The clinical team at Sheltering Arms has the most advanced technology and expertise to help patients work on developing new pathways. Call (877)56-REHAB for more information.