Our brains are constantly changing. Cool! so what?
Read on as we explain why motor control learning is key to better shoulder function and health.
Dr. Lara Boyd, a world-renowned neuroscientist, explains that our brains are constantly changing as we learn and forget. This is called neuroplasticity. She states that if we perform a new action over a short period of time our brains undergo temporary chemical changes as a way of learning this new action. The keyword here is temporary. When the action is performed temporarily it is forgotten and it becomes harder to perform after a while. This is why we sometimes find it harder to perform the new action the following day.
Take for example, today you decided to do something new such as play the violin. You practise one note a couple of times until you become good at it. You reach a point where you can play a note without any squeals or squeaks. The following day, you pick up the violin and try playing the same note again. This time, you end up playing the note with a few squeals and squeaks. This is because the previous day, your brain ‘learned’ the new action via chemical changes in your brain, but the changes were temporary so you began to forget how to play correctly.
So what happens when an action is performed regularly over a longer period of time?
Dr. Boyd, explains that the brain doesn’t just undergo chemical changes, but longer lasting structural changes. Once these structural changes are in place, it becomes more difficult to forget the newly learned action. Practice makes perfect right?
Great, but what does this have to do with shoulder health?
These structural changes to the brain are key to fixing many of the shoulder issues we come across because doing something again and again makes it easier to do. These issues range from shoulder instability, impingement and rotator cuff weakness. The muscles of your shoulder girdle need to activate properly and correctly in order for your shoulder to be pain free and stable.
I get it… I need to practise, practise and practise… but what do I practice to keep my shoulders healthy?
Dr. Boyd said something very interesting in her Tedx talk. She mentioned that neuroplasticity differs from one individual to another. This is why some people find it extremely easy to pick up sport and others languages. This variation from one individual to another is the reason why in many parts of the world medicine is becoming more and more individualised. MUJO understands this and it is at the core of our services to you.
All of our services and treatments are individualised to you
Typically we assess your shoulder health before we prescribe any exercises. The assessment measures your strength, range of motion and more importantly your motor control. This is in effect an examination of the part of brain structure that is responsible for your shoulder function. We use the results of the assessment to prescribe the motions that you need to perform again and again and again to relearn healthy motor control of your shoulders.
How do we know how much you need to practise? We track your progress with our SMART technology and as you progress, we modify your program to tailor to your specific needs. This is an ongoing process until your treatment is complete. We encourage everyone to continue to ‘practise’ make sure you never forget the important motor control needed to keep your shoulders healthy and pain free.