“Bioplasticity” is one of those very newish words around. Lorimer Moseley mentioned it in a dispatch from Body in Mind and we have both used the word and concept extensively in the new Explain Pain Handbook.
We think “bioplasticity” has a nice ring to it – much bigger than neuroplasticity, with the “bio” bit allowing engagement of all body systems – recognising that it’s not just the brain and neurones which can change. There is a saying for people experiencing persistent pain in the handbook – “bioplasticity got you into this situation and bioplasticity can get you out again.”
This saying reflects that there is both a dark, and a positive, side of bioplasticity. The dark side is body systems getting better and better at looking after you – nerves conveying danger messages becoming more sensitive, brain cells involved in making pain becoming more sensitive too, and the coping systems such as the emotional, cognitive, endocrine and autonomic systems get edgy – being switched on and turned up for extended periods of time.
But the positive side of bioplasticity is a reason to be hopeful for anyone experiencing persistent pain, no matter the condition or duration. It’s all about learning how protective systems can be turned down, even switched off by thinking, moving, speaking, knowing and behaving differently. It may not be easy but even just knowing of the bioplastic potential of all the bodily systems is surely a start.
Neuroplasticity is so 2014!
– David Butler