Your nervous system, consisting of your brain, spinal cord and all your nerves, is the most vital system of your body. Its purpose is to coordinate and regulate all the other systems of your body as well as help you adapt to your environment. Just a few of the jobs it looks after, without a conscious thought from you are:
- Producing stomach acid after a meal
- Communicating with the immune system
- Increasing your pulse when climbing stairs
- Reducing your blood pressure when seated
- Learning to crawl, walk or ride a bicycle
- Producing pain when touching a hot stove
- Perspiring to cool you when it’s hot
Your nervous system controls every cell, tissue, organ and system of your body. Your DNA may determine your height or the color of your eyes, but your nervous system controls and regulates how your body functions.
The deep muscles and ligaments of the spine are extremely dense in nerve receptors (called proprioceptors) that constantly fire nerve messages into the spinal cord and up to the brain. These receptors detect muscle/joint movement and tension and tell the brain where the body is in space. Even when we’re not moving, the force of gravity on the spine continues to fire these receptors. The accurate firing of these receptors helps activate the brain and ensure the brain sends the right nerve messages back to control muscle tone throughout the body.
Emotional stress, physical trauma, an unhealthy diet, poor posture and general de-conditioning can all cause dysfunction in muscles and joints of the spine. This alters receptor activation and distorts the nerve messages sent to the brain. If the brain receives faulty nerve messages in, then the result is faulty nerve messages out. This changes motor tone throughout the body and may eventually lead to pain and disability.
It is the role of your chiropractor to identify and correct these spinal imbalances and teach you ways in which you can prevent them occurring in the first place.