The nervous system is the central highway of communication in the body. This complex network dictates everything from movement to pain, sensations, emotions, and organ system function. However, even minor misalignments in the spine can disrupt this communication, leading to a range of health issues.
Upper cervical chiropractic care specializes in correcting these misalignments by focusing on the neck's base where the spine meets the brain stem. This form of care isn't just about relieving pain. It's about restoring your body’s natural function and improving your quality of life.
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Here’s everything you need to know about how the nervous system and chiropractic care work together to promote overall health and wellness.
Understanding the Nervous System
Before we begin, it’s important to have a basic understanding of the nervous system. This elaborate network is in charge of everything from initiating the blink of an eye to the regulation of heartbeats and the function of the immune system. Here are the main components of your nervous system:
The Central Nervous System
At the core of the nervous system is the Central Nervous System, or CNS. The CNS consists of the brain and spinal cord. This is the control center for the body, processing and sending out instructions to every part. The brain acts as the command station, interpreting sensory information and formulating responses. The spinal cord is the main pathway for transmitting signals between the brain and the rest of the body.
When the spinal cord's function is impaired, whether due to injury, illness, or misalignment, communication can be disrupted. Chiropractic care, particularly at the upper cervical level, works to keep the spine healthy and the CNS functioning smoothly.
The Peripheral Nervous System
Branching out from the spinal cord are spinal nerves that form the Peripheral Nervous System, or PNS. This system extends to the outer regions of the body including the limbs and organs. The PNS is subdivided into two categories. The somatic nervous system governs voluntary muscle movements, and the autonomic nervous system controls involuntary functions such as breathing, digestion, and heart rate.
Chiropractic adjustments can have an impact on the PNS by reducing nerve pressure. This can reduce pain and restore the body’s natural function.
The Enteric Nervous System
The Enteric Nervous System, or ENS, is located in the gastrointestinal tract. It's responsible for the complex process of digestion from swallowing to the release of enzymes and nutrient absorption. It also plays a role in communicating with the CNS which can affect your mood and well-being.
When the body is under stress, the ENS can cause dysfunction in the digestive process. Chiropractic care can improve the function of the ENS by reducing nerve interference that travels between the CNS and the GI tract.
The Impact of Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
As mentioned, upper cervical chiropractic care zeroes in on the upper part of the neck where the brainstem transitions into the spinal cord. This region plays a significant role in the body's balance and neurological health. Here’s how focused care in this area can make a difference:
Precision and Focus
Unlike general spinal manipulations, upper cervical chiropractic care is highly precise. Practitioners use specific techniques to adjust the atlas and axis which are the top two vertebrae in the neck. Proper alignment here is vastly important because these vertebrae support the head and protect the brainstem, a critical area for transmitting nerve impulses.
Upper cervical chiropractic offers a non-surgical approach to relieve discomfort and restore function. By realigning the upper cervical area, chiropractors can help alleviate various conditions without the need for medication or surgery.
Holistic Health Benefits
While the main focus is on the neck, the benefits of upper cervical care are felt throughout the body. Correct alignment can improve posture, alleviate certain types of headaches, and reduce stiffness. It can even potentially improve sleep quality and reduce chronic stress due to the close relationship between the cervical spine and the nervous system.
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The Nervous System and Upper Cervical Chiropractic Care
As we can see, there is a close relationship between chiropractic care and the neurological system. Spinal adjustments that come from chiropractic treatment can improve the function of the nervous system in many ways. Here’s how upper cervical chiropractic care can have a positive effect on the entire body:
Spinal misalignments can lead to nerve compression, which disrupts the nervous system's ability to transmit signals effectively. Upper cervical chiropractic care aims to realign the spine and improve the flow of neural communications. This allows different parts of the body to send and receive messages without interference.
Upper cervical care is particularly focused on the atlas and axis. These vertebrae support the head and also play a key role in the body's balance and alignment. Misalignments here can have an effect on both the body's posture and the nervous system's functionality. By restoring alignment to this area, chiropractic care can help rebalance the body's structures. This in turn helps to normalize nervous system functions.
Relieving Symptoms Through Neurological Health
Many symptoms experienced throughout the body have roots in the nervous system. For instance, a misalignment in the upper cervical area can lead to headaches, dizziness, chronic pain, or even high blood pressure. Through specific chiropractic adjustments, these symptoms can often be alleviated as the direct pressure on nerves is relieved.
In fact, a study completed by the National Library of Medicine found that chiropractic treatment can activate the parasympathetic nervous system. This in turn can affect the sympathetic system and improve symptoms of depression.
Regular chiropractic care is not only about addressing existing conditions but also about preventative health. By maintaining spinal health and making sure the nervous system operates without interference, patients can often prevent problems before they start.
Take the Next Step in Improving Nerve Health with Chiropractic Care
Upper cervical chiropractic care isn't just for those times when you're feeling sore or out of sorts. It’s a way to keep your whole body functioning properly, including your nervous system. When your spine is in line, your nerves are free to do their job, and that means you can feel great and live life to the fullest.
If you're curious about how this care can help you, contact us today. Dr. Alexa and her team are here to answer your questions and guide you on the path to better health. Book your Free Evaluation today and take your first step toward feeling your best!