By Dr. Richard Nahas

Screen Shot 2016-08-17This recent discovery of a lymphatic system in the brain has been reported as a revolution in neuroscience. It was always assumed that there was no connection between the brain and the immune system of the body. But powerful new evidence, which includes beautiful images, shows that a rich network of lymphatic vessels travel along the veins that drain the brain.

We treat patients with post-concussion syndrome, chronic pain and other disorders. These are often triggered by relatively minor injuries, for which the severity of the symptoms just doesn’t make sense. But they can be explained by a few key ideas that are common principles of integrative medicine.

  • there are long sheets of fascia that weave through all the tissues of the body, creating planes of movement that extend from the trunk to the extremities
  • restrictions in fascia in a previously injured area can affect function and movement in that area – and along the entire plane
  • pulling and tightness from restrictions in fascia can affect lymphatic drainage
  • lymphatic vessels are innervated by the sympathetic nerves – the part of the nervous system that controls the stress response

Screen Shot 2016-08-17This suggests that post-concussion syndrome may be only partly related to the damage that occurred during the injury. It may also be important to consider prior injuries that may affect lymphatic drainage in the brain. These might make it harder to clear the by-products of inflammation, which is a normal response to any injury. The sympathetic nerves that control lymph are the reason we treat stress and the mind when treating the brain. The long-ranging stretches of fascia are the reason we also treat lacerations of the face and scalp, dental problems, clavicle and shoulder problems, chronic sinus and ear infections, and of course whiplash injuries of the neck. Even a foot problem can restrict fascia and affect lymph in the brain.

The best way to treat the brain is to treat the body that it is connected to. This is also the basis for good integrative pain management.

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