The nervous system? Many of us recognise the words ‘nervous system’ but what really is it? Why is it so important? Without complicating the already complicated, our nervous system consists of our brain, spinal cord and nerves and it is responsible for everything in our body, conscious and unconscious.
If you imagine the spinal cord as a motor way between the brain and the body. Similar to cars on a motor way, messages or signals are continuously travelling up and down the spinal cord between the brain and the body.
Our brain has to be able to “see” what is happening in our body at all times so that it can control everything. The brain creates a picture of the body’s internal structure based on all of the messages it receives and then, based on this picture , sends an appropriate message back. Messages are continuously flowing up the spinal cord to update the picture and so that actions can be continuously carried out. Examples of these actions include the things we think about, like moving the body but also things that we don’t think about like our heart beating or the digestion of food.
It is important that our brain receives accurate messages from the body so that we can perform accurate actions. If the messages are not clear then the picture our brain creates might not be a true representative of what is really happening and ultimately the brain sends an inaccurate message back down to the body. Mixed messages might not seem like such a big problem but when these messages are relaying information used for co-ordination or information on our hormone levels, mixed messages can mean crisis for the body.
The spine is known for giving the body structure but it is not often given credit for the role it plays in ensuring the brain receives these messages from the body. What we have to remember is that the spinal cord runs right through the middle of the spine and has a very close relationship to it. Research has shown us that when a spinal segment is moving properly, it appears to influence how the brain perceives and responds to all of the other messages it is getting from the body.
If you have experienced certain stressors like a physical injury, lots of work stress or even repetitive faulty postures, the small muscles that attach into the spine can be pulled tight. When this happens the vertebrae is now twisted and will either be struggling to move or might even be moving too much. Like we said before, a healthy moving vertebra helps relay information to the brain, so when the spine loses movement, your brain stops getting accurate information from the spine.
Chiropractors can make small corrections to the spine (called an adjustment) to ensure optimal performance is restored which in turn allows the nervous system to function properly. Have you had your spine and nervous system checked?