In this post we will describe a basic Eye Tracking Exercise that helps balance and rehabilitate the nervous system in case of Dystonia, scoliosis and postural collapse.
Neurological Rehabilitation is one of the most important parts of the Protocol for the Treatment of Dystonia that we have developed.
In order to learn more about the protocol that we have developed for the treatment of Dystonia, you should be familiar with the theory that we set out to test as we describe in the post A Bio-Mechanical Approach to Cervical Dystonia.
This bio-mechanical protocol has shown to be effective also for the treatment of other occlusion related movement disorders, with varying levels of neurological symptoms (from postural collapse driven by a sinking skull to Parkinson’s, Generalized Dystonia, Oromandibular Dystonia and Tourette’s).
Posture, Alignment and Balance
The human body is a bio-mechanical machine with 640 moving parts. Each part is unstable and requires 70 precise controls each second to keep it functioning in the correct way. If it does not get these controls, the entire machine does not run efficiently and gets damaged, either immediately or over time.
Dystonia is an impairment of the ability of the body to maintain proper balance and alignment on 3 planes.
Alignment and balance are a challenge that the body has to overcome continuously just to stay upright against gravity. The brain needs to send about 70 signals per second to 640 different muscles.
The muscles that determine posture are generally the deeper, less visible muscles. These are controlled by the subconscious part of your brain, mostly in the area called the cerebellum.
The control needs to be subconscious because posture requires precise and constant input – about 70 inputs per second as mentioned at the start of this post. That is far more precision, and far too frequent for our conscious brain to handle.
The eyes are one of the most important sensors which feed continuous information to the brain. The brain compiles all that and computes what signals to send, and then fires out the signals to your muscles through your nerves.
The eyes provide the brain with information about the level of the horizon. If they are not tracking well, the result is faulty propioception, unbalance, uneven shoulders, torsion and scoliosis.
The following test can show the extent of the imbalance. It is done by placing a pen vertically with the tip at the level of the eyes and the body of the pen touching the nose. When the eyes focus on the tip of the pen, the result might be like like picture 1 or picture 2.
A very powerful tool to improve eye tracking, is the exercise shown in the video below. The effects on posture, skeletal alignment and propioception are nothing short than amazing.
It takes 1 minute to carry out the eye tracking exercise described in the video. We recommend doing 7 repetitions per day, every day during a dew months.
Looking into the Black Box
Why is there such a strong relationship between eyes, posture and neurological balance?
The first thing we need to do when we want to unravel the intricacies of vision and posture and the central nervous system is realize we are all experiments of one. When we make assertions about their relationship, it has to be taken with that disclaimer in mind. All we can hope to do is design a good enough map to navigate this mysterious territory.
The visual cortex takes up a quarter of the entire brain and a full 90% of the brain’s sensory input comes from visual sources. So when an image is processed it impacts the way the eye and body relate functionally by design.
Moreover, the muscles that control the eye movement arise from the same core of somites that form the paraspinal muscles.
The visual field and pathway are important regulators of postural control. Visual input for postural control helps to fixate the position of the head and upper trunk in space, primarily so that the center of mass of the trunk maintains balance over the well-defined limits of foot support.
Although postural control is highly dependent upon visual status, higher cortical functions are necessary to differentiate between a fixed person within a moving environment, or a moving person within a fixed environment.
The eyes are a matched pair of brightness meters. They are capable of triggering an array of real or symbolic actions in response to significant light patterns occurring within their field of awareness. Before the light patterns to which the eyes are sensitive can become accurate and meaningful sources of information about the environment, the following must occur.
The head which houses the eyes and the neck and the body which responds to what the eyes see, must come to balance both with the light patterns and also with gravity.
Unless the organism establishes a balanced equilibrium with the light patterns, they are likely to be inaccurately organized by the eye’s receptors in the retina, and the receptors then are likely to trigger distorted neural signals.
Therefore one of the organism’s first responses to a light pattern is to turn the eyes, neck and body until there is an equal amount of light on each retina.
Coming to a balance with the light patterns simultaneously aligns the organism with gravity, thereby providing a stable base from which to respond.
The organism’s balanced equilibrium both with light and gravity results in reciprocal feedback among the eyes, neck, and trunk as each tries to equate its activity with the other.
That feedback provides the organism with the opportunity for optimal freedom to perform whatever is required to cope with the task at hand.
Pathological Tilting of the Eyes
A pathologic ocular tilt reaction will result in asymmetric input to the central nervous system (CNS): a tilt in the subjective visual vertical perception.
It will produce a perception by the patient that vertical orientation is different from what is true gravitational vertical.
Navigate Through this Blog
To further understand our reasearch, approach and method, please read:
A Bio-Mechanical Approach to Dystonia
An introduction to the theory and analysis that support the pilot research project to use an adaptive intraoral appliance to treat and possibly cure Secondary Idiopatic Cervical Dystonia.
Principles of Splint Therapy
A description of the principles on which we base our protocol for the treatment of Cervical Dystonia and other occlusion realated movement disorders with varying degrees of neurological symptoms (from Tourette’s, to postural collapse, Parkinson’s and Generalized Dystonia).
Protocol for the Treatment of Cervical Dystonia
A step by step description of the 3 phases of the DIY protocol that we have developed for the treatment of Cervical Dystonia.
The Molar Lever
Our analysis of the bio-machinics of the Molar Lever and how dental occlusion is related to posture and skeletal allignment.>
Phases of Lateral Postural Colapse
Our analysis of the descending skeletal and postural effects of a collapsing and twisting skull that does not find adequate support in the dental arches.
A description of the adaptive intra-oral aplliance -dental splint – that we use to treat Cervical Dystonia and the orthopedic forces that it produces by progressively pushing the mandible in retrusion, maxila in extrusion and elevating the skull by stretching and aligning the cervical vertebrae.
Bibliography and links to scientific research on the treatment of Dystonia and other neurological movement disorders with a bio-mechanical approach.
Postural Colapse and Dental Arches
A set of animations that present grafically the type of skeletal and postural effects that we intend to produce over a few months by modifying occlusion and the direction of forces between the skull and the mandible.