Empowering Women in Chiropractic Sensory Polyvagal Chiropractic ConnectionsOct 23, 2022
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Good morning everybody, or good afternoon depending where you are. I am Dr. B and this is my girlfriend Elizabeth B.
We are gonna go over it's October is National Sensory Awareness month. So Elizabeth has been very aware of our sensory environment because that's how she's learning to grow and develop to our optimum potential. So in honor of National Sensory Awareness Month, we are gonna go over the sensory polyvagal chiropractic connections.
So let's rock and roll. We're gonna throw some slides on and let's party. So look at that splash of color there. That might be a little bit too sensory overload for some of you, but I did wanna wake you up a little bit. So again, thank you ChiroSecure for always having our backs and letting us present this amazing information to help all of you practicing Chiropractic potential patients, chiropractic patients to learn our message in order to help change the tide for optimal development on our little fiddle farts. So let's dive in just a little bit here. How we perceive our world really shapes our entire. World, how and how we respond to our world, our external environment, our internal environment, how we respond to others how we behave.
And most importantly, in the world of neurodevelopment, neuropsychiatry mental health awareness across the board. Developing a strong connection to ourself, what we call sense of self is really the basis of optimal health. They refer to this as the developmental origins of disease. If there's the disconnect between the way we perceive our environment and the via our sensory experiences, this is the foundation of.
Optimal health, physical, mental, emotional health. And this comes from the neurodevelopment, neuropsych metabolic literature. So I'm not making it up. So excuse me, This is a little sip of juice there this morning. Water. It is. So how we perceive our own world shapes our entire world. What is sensory processing?
It's the ability to take and organize, integrate. And respond appropriately in a motor fashion, respond to this information that comes into our brain in an appropriate manner. Sensory impairment is basically neurological disconnect. That information coming into our brain is not organized, is not integrated.
It's sensory crap storm and overload. So I use this analogy a lot when I teach to or when I talk to parents to help them understand what their child's world feels like. So let's say you're sitting in a car, you're driving, you're the, a parent, you're driving a group of kiddos that are sitting in the.
And you're driving through a hellacious rainstorm. The rain is pounding down on the windshields, the windshield wipers are going back about cause you have them the highest speed mode you need. You've got some Bon Jovi cranked up and you're, rocking out and you like the music. The kids are in the back and they're goofing around and playing and screaming and singing.
And so there's a lot of stuff coming at. Lights from the other vehicles coming your way. The lights are shining in your face. You've got a lot of sensory experience there. Now you might be hunkered down a little bit tight-fisted, a little tense a little stressed out, maybe even some low lying anxiety.
But you're able to modulate the situation. You're able to handle it, okay? Cause you're driving a path that you're familiar with. You don't have to expand. Your mental capacity yet, but now you're gonna have to try to find a road something that you're not familiar with and you've gotta concentrate a little bit more.
So what do you do? You need to decrease that sensory load coming in at you. So you might turn the radio down. And you might lose your temper a little bit with the kiddos in the back and start yelling at them, and they're not toning down and being quiet, and so you snap at 'em more because your threshold, your tolerance, your adaptability for your sensory environment now has gone over threshold is too much and your anxiety gets more ramped.
That's how a lot of people that are trying to navigate an environment that is not, is it's too much traffic noise coming into their brain and they're not able to the neuro those connectivities in the brain are not connecting to interpret their environment in a safe fashion. It is a disruption of neurological integrity, affecting the ability to adequately receive, modulate, integrate, and discriminate and organize information coming into the brain.
And that's why we're seeing, sadly, an increase in across all ages, in all stages of reports of depression and anxiety is because too much traffic. Too many stressors are disrupting those messages coming into the brain. So October is National Sensory Awareness Month, and I want you to be aware that one of the very key internal awareness sensors, we're gonna go over all our sensory systems.
In a minute, here is the microbiome. That is a huge sensory system. Just think about all the information that sensory information that comes in from your viscera, which is 80% via the vagus nerve. So there's your one connection, one of the connections between vagus nerve and sensory input. So the microbiome is one of our inter interceptive internal sensory systems, and we know that the literature is over the last decade has just evolved tremendously with regard to the gut microbiome being a key role player in.
Physical health, mental health, emotional wellness across the board. So I just want you to be aware that our sensory systems are not just our external sensory systems. So let's have some fun. Let's play. This is the Steven POIs was the founder of the Polyvagal. And you'll hear his work referred to as the vagal ladder.
And I've changed the, or added, I should say the sensory components with. Vagal tone with chiropractic for you to understand the whole story. So our outside senses come from smell, taste, touch, vision and hearing. That's the outside world coming in. But our internal awareness, our introception, I put those on the internal rung of the rungs of the ladder because we need to have good stability, internal stability.
In order to hold up those outer rungs, layers, whatever you wanna call these of the latter. So we have the vira, our visceral organs have a tremendous amount of sensory input to the brain, 80% via vagal to the microbiome. Our immune system, our immune cells, when we are in a cyto comes storm when there's a.
Message is cranking out from our immune cells that are creating different experiences because of the inflammatory load. That's a sensory experience. Our hormones it's our, the fascia, the muscles. The fascia have huge sensory input regulation into the brain. Joints and muscle spins are gonna be proprioceptive in nature.
We know that we, when we do a chiropractic adjust, We fire those joints and muscle spindles, resetting the proprioceptive tone going into the brain, a huge sensory organ, and our vestibular sense. For the longest time, the vestibular system has been deemed the head hacha, the CEO, of regulating the rate, the volume, and the timing of sensory input into the brain.
So I've stuck that at the top of the ladder there. We have our internal senses, our external senses, and they all have to come into the brain and be able to speak to each other. It's all connections. One system is down, one system failure. They're all going to have some struggles to some degree, just depending on the level.
Of dysfunction within that system and the number of systems involved. So the more stress we have on the system, the more di the more disconnect that information is gonna be coming into the brain. Stress, trauma talks and thoughts, technology, tethered restrictions coming from subluxations, from fascia restrictions, from tongue ties, et cetera.
And the terrain that we. Our internal terrain and our external environment terrain, meaning what is Elizabeth being exposed to on a daily basis in order to feed and fire up those sensory inputs into her brain? And how can she respond to that? So here's how we roll.
Squirrel represents the sympathetic nervous. Squirrel is, we're always on edge. We're fighting for survival because I, the human nervous system wants to help us stay alive. Good thing. But if this information is coming in too fast and too furious and an overload it's gonna create a level of anxiety for me, and I wanna stay safe in my environment.
So I might be always on the lookout for a potential threat. Or an environment that's too noisy, too visually stimulating. Or I love to use this one. Let's say our internal environment is in distress and our microbiome is in distress. And I'm sitting in a classroom and my tummy's not feeling so good cuz I'm not digesting well and I have.
I'm bloated and gassy and my brain, the only thing it's gonna concentrate on is I do not wanna pass gas in the classroom around all my friends. That is potentially embarrassing. What if it's a silent fart? But it's really stinky. It's a silent and deadly one. You're constantly bearing down and you're holding and you're trying not to let that.
So your brain is constantly concentrating on how do I not let that happen? And you're totally distracted from the rest of your environment. You're not engaged. That is always living in that stress response mode. We can't live there forever. We're not neurologically designed to live in fight or flight. So what happens is, in our innate wisdom, we drop down to what I call turtle, freeze, and associate or freeze and flop.
Go inward. Okay, we wanna hide, but that doesn't mean we're not stressed out because the turtle that's hiding from its prey is still in stress, is still in survival mode. And that is referred to as our old Vegas. It's lower file of genetically on the totem pole, right? It's not a matured nervous system as we are on a human realm.
It is mostly dealing with our visceral system. It shuts down our, it lowers our blood pressure, lowers our heart rate. We shut down and it's a very big parasympathetic drive. But if we're there too long and we go too low, that's not good either because we can die. So we don't wanna live there too long.
So what happens? Innately, our nervous system says, Boo, we gotta jump back up into squirrel to bring our blood pressure and heart rate up so we don't die, and now we look like this ping pong ball, right? We get fight or flight and inattentive and can't pay attention, and then that gets too rough and we go into survival mode in a shut down mode.
And then that gets too much and we bounce back and forth. This is often where your kiddos on the autism spectrum live, where your neurodevelopmental challenges live because they're trying to adapt to the way that they are perceiving their environment. And the cool thing is, if you think about this, no two people on the planet, no two people in the universe perceive a situation.
Or perceive you in the same way. That's a pretty big thing to think about. So oftentimes we don't understand somebody's neural expressive behavior because for us, we're like, Hey, just get over it. Chill out. Everything's gonna be okay. You don't have, But to them it is a sensory storm in their brain that they're really trying to survive.
And understanding how a person expresses their outward experience to an environment is really key. So we don't wanna be in a squirrel sympathetic drive, okay? We're trying to self modulate our sensory environment to our best capacity. That gets too overwhelming. We go into turtle mode. Now, what we should do as humans are higher.
Evolution of our brain is that prefrontal cortex, which I call the gorilla. That is what we term your vent. Vegas your New Vegas, your the myelinated fast working Vegas, and that is analogous to our prefrontal cortex. Gorilla helps us see situations in in a more appropriate fashion.
Meaning we should be socially engaged within our environment appropriately, not just socially engaged with others eye to eye contact, but socially engaged in our environment to really screen out. M i m am I in a a dire situation? Is there really a tiger that I'm running? Is there really a car coming at me that I've gotta run outta the way from, Oh no, there's not.
So I can decompress. I can be safe if there's truly a dire situation. Gorilla basically flips off prefrontal cortex, flips offline to let squirrel take over to get the heck outta dodge, so you do survive the situation. So we are essentially dancing in these different realms of this ladder on a daily basis, on a minute to minute by basis, depending our environment.
But if our internal environment is not healthy, we do not respond. If our nervous system interpretation of our environment is not healthy, I should say, we don't respond appropriately to the given situ. So one way that we can use so Gorilla acts as like the brake pedal. He puts the brakes on squirrel when it's appropriate and he lets it off squirrel when appropriate so that we can survive different situations.
However, if I perceive, if I continually my environ. To be overwhelming. I can't handle a lot of noise, a lot of light. I've got issues with my microbiome. I don't like strong smells. It's too much for my nervous system to handle, and I will constantly be on guard or I will check out. Turtle. People often get mislabeled as being not engaged checked out, not motivated.
I hate to use the word, but often they get termed as dumb. The elevator not going to the top because they're just disengaged in their environment and checked out as a survival mechanism. So I wanna give you one little thing before we wrap this up. There's a little hand in puppet show we can use to explain this.
Okay, so we're gonna do this little hand in puppet show for you. And I use this to help parents visually understand what we're talking about. So we're gonna pretend that my forearm is the spinal cord and that my wrists, my wrist area right here is the brain stem. Now I've modified this a little bit.
Then other examples you might have heard cuz I add in the brain stem at the. The base of my thumb right here is gonna be the cerebellum. The my thumb is gonna be the limbic system, primarily the amygdala, which is your fear monger. And then my four fingers represent the prefrontal cortex, the frontal lobe.
That's what makes us uniquely different in our neurological integrity. That's gorilla right here. So mom and. We know that Johnny has trouble taking in and organizing information from his senses, and that's why he can have some disruptive behavior. So here's how it works. We have our outside senses, sight, smell, sound, taste, touch, come from the outside world.
They come in. We have our inner senses. That's what represents my forearm. That is movement from our joints and muscles and from head movement, what we call vestibular input. And it can be from our gut and our belly and our immune system and our hormones, and all those things create sensory information so that outside senses and these inner senses have to come.
And they go through the brain stem. Now when we're a baby, that's where a lot of the information, that's where we we, our brain, our nervous system lives. But as we get older, we shouldn't live in our brain stem anymore. That's called the primitive part of our brain. We wanna. Go up and that information needs to come into the base of the brain, which is called the cerebellum.
Mom and dad. That's your little brain. We call that your little brain. It's the base right here. And then I'll show them on my spine and my brain model where that part of the brain is. But mom and dad, that little brain. Accounts for about 80% of the nerves that are in our total brain. So it's a really important part of our brain.
Then the information comes into this, what we call our limb system or the emotional part of our brain. This is our fear monger. This is my thumb represents the, what we call the amygdala. He kinda holds you back in fear, and if we're living in fear mode, We can't process our environment properly, and then that information needs to feed forward to these four fingers represent the higher part of our brain called the prefrontal cortex, mom and dad.
That's analogous to the gorilla here on our lap. This part of our brain puts the brakes on that emotional part of the brain that allows us to be reasonable, be rational, have impulse. In fact, mom and dad the base of the brain here, the cerebrum, that little brain and this front part of the brain, they work together to be the ceo, the chief executive officers of our whole brain.
And help us be more socially engaged on task start tasks, finish task, have impulse control, be reasonable, be rational, and be able to modulate ourself up properly in our sensory environment. So that's why Johnny has trouble behaving or sitting still when there's too much chaos going on cuz he doesn't process it well.
But the good news is that we know that chiropractic. We know that from our neuroscience literature and chiropractic, we understand that when we do a spinal adjustment, we help affect the, in the processing of that information coming into the base of the brain, the little brain and the front part of our brain, so that information can be better organized and interpreted, and therefore we have a better sensory system regulation as a whole.
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