If your body is a boombox, and the nervous system is music…

music-1

Think of the nervous system like a boombox up on your shoulder, 80’s style, playing sweet jams at all times. When the body is healthy, balanced, and running smoothly, the music playing from your system’s radio station are your favorite hits at the perfect volume, and your drop-in harmonies are totally on point.

giphy

When the nervous system is out of sync, those beats flowing from your station are tragic- like the song you hate most, on the loudest setting, playing over and over again. You can’t change the station, no matter what lengths you go to!

When you have a chronic neurological condition like Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis, Complex Regional Pain Syndrome, or Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome for example, it’s as though someone traded out your cool retro stereo system for an old broken down radio. You can play records on it sometimes, and it’s AMAZING to listen to any music again when you’re not in a flare or a relapse, but even then, all the records have scratches on them, so the music is constantly skipping and warped. The stereo’s wiring gets so bad over time that the record player doesn’t work anymore, and your radio only receives static.

giphy1

A chronically malfunctioning nervous system is like listening to a broken radio stuck on static at full volume constantly.Β 

When the “music” or the nervous system’s wiring is flowing properly from the brain throughout the body, pain receptors react to appropriate painful stimuli, telling us when there is a problem, and the pain subsides when the problem is resolved. When we have “faulty wiring” we may experience hypersensitivity to touch, sound, light or even smells so intense that it can cause a severely painful reaction. Think of raw wires on the end of electronics sparking and flaming just to the slightest touch.

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The malfunctioning nervous system might react to normal stimulus with severe increased pain, increased stress may cause a seizure, or in others severe tremors and body spasms may occur. For some with POTS, (Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome), a loud noise or changing positions can cause the body to completely check out, going into fight or flight mode, and beginning to pass out, or passing out completely.

Going back to the stereo analogy, imagine being invited to a party where the DJ had a broken stereo system, playing static on blast or his stereo catching fire in front of everyone. That’s exactly what it’s like to live with a chronic neurological disease…well, sort of.

giphy2

Meditation, spirituality, organized religion, trying to improve sleep, and other stress reducing efforts are ways we try to turn down the knob on the stereo. Medications, alternative therapies, eating well, surrounding ourselves with positive support are all ways we can continue turning the knob down little by little. The static kicks out on full blast each day, and we use our tools to adjust or manage the incoming noise levels. We may not have the ability to turn the station away from the blaring static and back to music, but we can attempt to turn the volume down so it isn’t blasting constantly every day.

Invasive and surgical approaches to treating neurological diseases are like kicking the side of your stereo to try to get it to work again. Jolting it hard enough may coax the system to finally play music once again, or you might kick it so hard that you completely break your stereo. For many, surgery and invasive treatments are worth a risk of causing additional problems for the possibility of returning to good health and functioning.

That’s my super-scientific explanation of the nervous system, and how it’s exactly like a boom box. So…. this analogy might not end up in a medical school text book, but if it helped anyone better understand an aspect of neurological disease, or put a smile on your face, then virtual high fives all around!

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About abodyofhope

I do not know why it is that we must wade through tragic circumstances to find truth. We nearly drown! But under the water, there are pearls. I hope in writing this blog, more will come to the surface. Over the past 13 years living with chronic pain, patient advocacy has affected my life through so many remarkable young people, women and men: SURVIVORS. These individuals are HOPE personified. I wish to honor them in the same spirit they have encouraged me to press on. Six years ago, I became bed-bound from a variety of chronic illnesses after a procedure meant to help the pain condition I had been managing for several years- went bust #BIGTIME. In the last 6 years, my entire life has changed. I have changed, but I am still striving to live my best life possible. Along with sharing inspiring pieces, medical/holistic research, and awareness articles, this blog is also an attempt to put my own pieces back together. Welcome to A Body of Hope, and thank you for visiting. [Complex Regional Pain Syndrome/ RSD, Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), Dysautonomia, Chronic Intractable Migraine, Cluster headache, Trigeminal Neuralgia, Occipital Neuralgia, Hypersensitivity to Sound & Light, Fibromyalgia, CFS/ME, Cerebrospinal Fluid Imbalance......blah, blah, blah] >>> P.S. My headgear is protective for pain. I just rock it hard.

Posted on September 2, 2016, in Chronic Pain, Music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 20 Comments.

  1. That is exactly what it feels like!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. High fives indeed!! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just Plain Ol' Vic

    Your explanation was super-awesome!!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. LIke I said on FB, that analogy works so well!!! With chronic fatigue, I explain it to people as an old cell phone which you never know when the battery is going to lose its charge while you’re using it. At any moment it may go from 90% to 10% and you have to hang up ( go to bed). People understand more with that. However, that analogy doesn’t cover as much as the radio one here with pain, nervous system disturbances and all the static your brain is overloaded with. So it’s going to be a great tool to use πŸ˜€

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Love your explanation, will share it with my friends! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, I so understand & relate to this analogy…thank you, Mary!

    On a somewhat related note:
    (I used to help some parents understand their child, who exhibited behaviors like ADHD. It was as if their child were tuned into a radio station that was filled with static, that they were trying to listen & understand the teacher, but needed something to clear the static so they could hear the music they were trying to hear)

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh wow, I just came across your wonderful comment and see I didn’t reply to you ages ago! I’m so sorry!
      I went through a long desert of communication this past year, and that’s my only reason but it’s not an excuse.

      I love the static and music analogy for ADHD as well! Especially for explaining simply to parents- I imagine that worked well.

      I hope you continue to check in and visit! I’m still writing even if I’m not the best at responding, lol
      I hope you are having a good day,
      Hugs

      Like

  7. High five . I’m feeling it, sounds like me. So hard to explain you did it well.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. This analogy is absolutely fantastic-easy to understand and can also make me chuckle(love your gifs!!) Brought me back to my high school days! My record has been playing scratches for a while so hopefully I can skip to a new song soon πŸ™‚ Sending you a big gentle hug ❀

    Liked by 1 person

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