The solution to chronic pain if possible is not to cover up the pain with medications but rather to change the pattern in the nervous system. The longer that pain lasts the more it is like a trail in the forest that becomes more and more established.

Living with chronic pain can be debilitating, affecting every aspect of your life. It’s a constant presence that hinders you from enjoying even the simplest activities. However, there is hope. By understanding the gate theory of pain, the concept of plasticity, and the principles of neuroplasticity, you can overcome chronic pain and regain control of your life. In this blog post, we will explore these ideas and how chiropractic care, particularly corrective chiropractic, can help you in your journey towards pain relief.

The Gate Theory of Pain

According to the gate theory of pain, pain signals are transmitted to the brain through a series of gates. These gates can either be open or closed, determining whether pain signals reach the brain and are perceived as pain. Non-painful sensations, such as touch or vibration, can interfere with the pain signals, closing the gate and reducing the perception of pain. This theory explains why rubbing a bumped elbow can alleviate the pain momentarily.

Plasticity and Learning

Plasticity refers to the brain and nervous system’s ability to change and adapt throughout our lives. It is through plasticity that we learn new skills, form habits, and even recover from injuries. Chronic pain, unfortunately, can also be reinforced through constant firing of pain signals. The more the pain persists, the deeper the neural pathways associated with pain become ingrained in our brain.

The Principle of “Fire and Wire”

The principle of “fire and wire” explains the process by which chronic pain becomes deeply ingrained in our neural pathways. When pain signals are repeatedly fired, the neural pathways associated with pain become stronger and more easily activated. This means that even a minor stimulus can trigger a disproportionate pain response. Over time, this pattern of pain becomes deeply entrenched in our nervous system, making it challenging to break free from chronic pain.

Subluxation as a Cause of Repeated Pain Signals

Subluxation, a misalignment and loss of movement in the spine, can be a significant cause of repeated pain signals. Subluxations can result from poor posture, injuries, or even emotional stress. When the spine is misaligned, it can put pressure on nerves, leading to pain signals being constantly fired. By addressing subluxation, we can alleviate nerve pressure and reduce the constant firing of pain signals.

Creating a New Pattern

The solution to overcoming chronic pain lies in replacing the pattern of pain with a new pattern. This is where chiropractic care, particularly corrective chiropractic, comes into play. Corrective chiropractic focuses on identifying and addressing the underlying causes of subluxation, allowing the nervous system to function optimally. By doing so, we can create a new pattern that promotes healing and pain relief.

Steps to Creating a New Pattern

1. Removing the Source of Nervous System Pressure or Irritation

The first step in creating a new pattern is to identify and remove the source of nervous system pressure or irritation. Through a comprehensive examination, a chiropractor can pinpoint any misalignments or dysfunctions in the spine that may be contributing to chronic pain. By gently adjusting the spine, chiropractors can restore proper alignment, alleviating nerve pressure and reducing pain signals.

2. Establishing a New Nervous System Pattern

Once the source of nervous system pressure is removed, the next step is to establish a new nervous system pattern. This is where the principles of neuroplasticity come into play. The brain and nervous system need focused attention and time to create new neural pathways associated with pain relief. Chiropractic adjustments, along with specific exercises and rehabilitation techniques, can help establish a new, healthier pattern.

3. Reinforcing the New Pattern

Reinforcement is crucial to ensure the longevity of the new pattern. By repeating positive behaviors and habits consistently, we can reinforce the new neural pathways associated with pain relief. Regular chiropractic visits, exercise, proper nutrition, and stress reduction techniques all contribute to reinforcing the new pattern and maintaining optimal nervous system function.

The 3 Principles of Neuroplasticity

Creating a new pattern requires focus, time, and repetition. These three principles of neuroplasticity are essential in rewiring the brain and nervous system.

1. Focus:

By directing your attention towards pain relief techniques, exercises, and chiropractic care, you can actively engage your brain in creating new patterns associated with pain relief.

2. Time:

Neuroplastic changes take time. Be patient and consistent with your pain relief strategies. Remember, it took time to develop chronic pain, and it will take time to overcome it.

3. Repetition:

Consistent repetition is key to establishing new neural pathways. Practice pain relief techniques, visit your chiropractor regularly, and incorporate exercises that promote a healthy spine and nervous system.


Chronic pain can be overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to define your life. Understanding the gate theory of pain, the concept of plasticity, and the principles of neuroplasticity can empower you to overcome chronic pain and regain control. Chiropractic care, particularly corrective chiropractic, offers a holistic approach to address the root causes of chronic pain and establish a new pattern of pain relief. Don’t let chronic pain dictate your life any longer – take the first step towards a pain-free future today!

About Dr. Berkowitz of Life Chiropractic:

Bringing more than 3 decades of practice experience, Dr. Bill Berkowitz focuses on balancing and corrective care, applying his expertise to provide patients with predictable, repeatable and measurable results.

Dr. Bill consistently strives to enhance the well-being of his patients by addressing the root imbalances of their problems and promoting optimal balance, alignment, and function of the spine and nervous system.

Bill’s wealth of knowledge and experience has allowed him to develop a nuanced understanding of the human body and its intricate connections. With each adjustment, he supports the body in returning to a state of balance that goes beyond mere symptom relief, focusing instead on long-term correction for his patients’ well-being.

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