In my last post on scoliosis, I summarized how hypervigilance leads to tilted eye-line thus leading to scoliosis. And since that piece, I have serendipitously come across Posturologist Annette Verpillot who confirms my theory ‘eye focus effects posture.’ An ocular-motor imbalance results in adaptive compromises at multiple levels throughout the body. Misaligned eyes lead to a misaligned spine
Thus it makes sense that to heal scoliosis we must try to fix the origin of the cause – the eyes.
Trauma Does Begin In Our Eyes
During fight or flight stress response our pupils dilate and peripheral vision narrows. We get ready to tackle the threat. However, in the case of childhood trauma, where the danger is ongoing and unrelenting we have to stay on red-alert. There is no respite. Though we want to flee or fight back we are unable to do so. Being helpless, dependant kids we cannot do that. We submit to the seemingly unresolvable dilemma by freezing-fawning to our situation.
To survive our toxic situation we put on rose-tinted glasses or become situationally blind to what is happening around us. It is too painful to see that those who are supposed to love and care for me don’t really give a damn about me. In fact, they hate ME.
Austrian psychoanalyst Wilhelm Reich postulated that blockages begin in our eyes and he was spot on. Ocular armor is our first line of defense. We block out what we cannot bear to see.
Eyes Don’t Lie
Furthermore, the close connection between our eyes and brains makes it is near impossible to fake the micro-expressions of our eyes. Our eyes just cannot lie, how we are truly feeling.
Personally speaking, the right eye is usually the affected eye. The reason being it is directly connected to our emotional right brain. (Only 50% of our retinal fibers cross over to the other side of the brain). Our right eye is internally frozen in that traumatic period. Our personality gets split and it shows in our eyes.
In the face of constant danger, bullying and shaming our personality dissociates into at least two parts. The Apparently Normal Part (ANP), the logical left hemisphere that attends to daily functioning and Emotional Part (EP), the emotional right hemisphere which remains frozen in time.
One eye (usually the right eye) is locked into our emotional right brain’s unresolved trauma. This stops us from seeing our external reality accurately. Over time this leads to tilted eye line or strabismus.
Faulty Processing of Sensory Information
Our eyes are usually the first sensory organ that detects danger. Seeing is believing. The eyes are closely linked to the brain. To produce sight, visual information is transmitted via the optic nerve to the thalamus, our brain’s relay center first, and then the visual cortex. Subsequently, information is transmitted to the limbic system and cerebellum, the second brain (responsible for posture and balance) and brainstem and the spinal cord. All this happens lightning fast.
Research has shown that strabismus and binocular vision issues actually originate in the thalamus, Could it be that due to chronic threat in the environment the brain has been locked in the thalamo-amygdala pathway (the short route) of emotional processing – we act without thinking. Further, the cerebello-limbic pathway considered the link between mind and body could the reason why our bodies get locked in a state of fear.
The thalamus-limbic-cerebellum connectivity loop becomes the default state of our emotional processing. Instead of feeling, processing, and releasing emotions, we repress or pretend all is okay.
Strabismus – How it Affects the Brain and Body
When the eyes are not aligned, the brain receives two different images, resulting in double vision. Strabismus can occur part of the time (intermittent) or all of the time (constant).
To avoid this the brain adapts to the change in the relative positions of the eyes. If the eyes continue crossing, a person usually learns to ignore or “suppress” the information from the deviated eye. Furthermore, if the same eye is always turned in, the eye goes partially blind due to disuse. This partial blindness is called amblyopia.
I did not realize how bad the vision in my right eye was until I had to test for reading glasses.
Strabismus invariably leads to ocular torticollis (tilted head) or cervical dystonia due to the eyes not tracking properly. This altered head position (AHP), eventually leads to musculoskeletal problems like neck and back pain and scoliosis
Our Neuroplastic Brain
Now our mind-body is one intricately working masterpiece. You cannot separate one from the other. Though modern medicine is all about treating the symptom without healing the cause. A single negative feeling causes a cascading of negative ripples through our autonomic nervous system.
Unresolved childhood trauma gets stuck viscerally leading to dis-ease.
To heal our body structure we must rewire the brain. According to Verepilot,
‘we need to simply change the input going to the brain so that we have an impact on that cerebellar pathway, on that motor pathway, so that the information, when it goes down to the muscular system, is symmetrical and coherent. That also involves the sympathetic system, the parasympathetic system, and our ability to be able to control our movement and our even our emotions.’
Using the Eyes To Re-align the Spine and Heal Scoliosis
Though for the last 4 years, I have been working at releasing my trauma, getting over my hyper-arousal state of fear, shame, guilt, I still felt locked in the past.
While watching Verpillot’s Ted Talk below, I got this idea of wearing an eye-patch.
One of the non- surgical ways of treating strabismus is wearing an eye patch over the straight eye. This patch makes the weaker eye do the seeing work. Over time, the muscles and vision in the weaker eye become stronger, and hopefully, both eyes will realign.
I have begun wearing an eye-patch and over my left eye and realized ‘boy how lazy my right eye is.’ It was hard initially getting my eye to work. One thing I noticed that with the right eye having to focus on current motor activities like cooking, cleaning – (reading is quite taxing) the less I was focusing on my past.
Also, stimulating the skin receptors of the feet is supposed to improve ocular convergence. A plastic fork is perfect for the task. Check out her youtube videos on foot stimulation.
Posture: the Key to Good Health | Annette Verpillot | TEDxMontrealWomen
Multi–pronged Approach in Healing Scoliosis
Healing scoliosis requires a mind-body coordinated effort. Sadly, even today most medical practitioners/ therapists still focus only on the physical aspects of rehabilitation of the body. You cannot just push your spine into place without addressing the underlying factors. The environmental and emotional stresses that caused your body to go into self-defense mode.
So do be mindful when opting to use an eye patch to help you realign your eyes and thus the spine. Is your environment safe? Are people in your life not retraumatizing? Or else you may further aggravate the condition of your eye. Since the right eye does not have the left eye to take over cognitively and stop sensory overload of the right eye.
In addition to working on my vision, I do EFT tapping to release stuck emotions (Brad Yates videos are perfect). Also, listening to Michael Sealey’s self-hypnosis has helped me feel confident and stand tall psychologically. The body does adapt to how we feel. Being a codependent people-pleaser, always making myself small to fit in is one of the myriad reasons for my scoliosis.
Nonetheless, our eye muscles and spinal muscles are intricately connected through complex neuronal pathways. So, to heal scoliosis it makes sense to rewire the first line of faulty mechanism. We need to retrain and rewire our brain pathways to activate our muscular-skeletal system into alignment.
According to brain neuroplasticity, clearing of emotional blockages focussing our attention through repetitive action changes not just our mind but also our body. You can heal your mind and body.
Please Note: I have no commercial or financial relationship with any of the people mentioned in my post. All information shared is purely my personal experience.
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