Chiropractic adjustments are thought of as producing relief from pain. This is just a small part of a bigger, more powerful effect.
The central nervous system includes the brain and spinal cord. The spine houses and protects the spinal cord. Each spinal level has nerves that exit the spine and go to other areas of the body so that we can function. Most people are aware of the fact that nerves in the upper part of the spine go to the arms and hands, and nerves from the lower spine go to legs and feet. This is why if you have compression of a nerve at or near the lower spinal levels (for example) you may have numbness, tingling or loss of muscular function in the legs or feet.
The Autonomic Nervous System and Chiropractic Care
What about all the spinal nerves at the levels between the neck and the low back? Where do they go? They go to your organs and glands. Every organ and gland in the body needs nerve innervation to function. This is called the autonomic nervous system. These nerves cause everything to function without any thought from you. You don’t have to tell your lungs to expand and contract. You don’t need to think about making your heart beat or your stomach digest. It just happens.
It happens because of the signaling from your nervous system. What an incredible mechanism!
So what happens if impingement occurs at a level of an autonomic nerve? Numbness? No. It functions less than optimally. It’s like a kink in a water hose. The water can’t get through it efficiently.
Misalignments of the joints at these spinal levels can touch a nerve, cause inflammation, or create irritated muscles. Any of these situations can impinge a nerve causing less function in the nerve (kinked water hose). If that nerve goes to the stomach, for example, the function declines.
The next time you get an adjustment, remember that you aren’t only relieving pain, you are returning full nerve flow to other areas of the body. Your organs function better, you function better, and your health improves.