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Cracks, manual therapy, and adjustments typically come to mind when people think of Chiropractic. This is the most recognizable side of chiropractic because it helps fix lower back pain and neck pain and though that is true, chiropractic actually involves more than just fixing the neck and low back. Chiropractic in general focuses on the health of your nervous system.
Chiropractic is not just about neck and low back pain, but it deals with the health of your whole nervous system.
Let’s Talk About The Spine
The brain and spine are connected. The brain and the spinal cord pass through all the different vertebrae. The nervous system is the communication line of the body. It allows the brain to send messages to all parts of your body. So when we discuss chiropractic, it is correct to think that chiropractors work with the neck and spine, but since this is all connected, chiropractic also focuses on regulating or helping the autonomic nervous system.
Chiropractic and the Nervous System
The autonomic nervous system is everything that happens automatically in your body. This includes breathing, digestion, heart rate, and respiratory rate; it’s everything that we don’t necessarily control or have to consciously think about in order to happen.
Within the autonomic system, there are two parts:
Unfortunately, our brains and bodies have not evolved as quickly as society has and something like a harsh conversation with a boss, or nervousness about an event can put the body in this fight or flight scenario even though your life is not particularly at risk. This can also include constant notifications on phones, email, or the simple stressors of modern society.
2. Parasympathetic Nervous System:
The parasympathetic nervous system is responsible for relaxation, rest, and digestion. Breathing exercises, meditation, and other focus methods are typically used to help activate the parasympathetic nervous system to help people relax.
Using Chiropractic to Balance the nervous system: The Reset Button
Ideally, the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are balanced; one system works and then the other takes over. However, with the basic list of modern stressors listed that can activate the sympathetic nervous system, one can probably assume that this type of chronic low-grade stress can potentially bring the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic out of balance.
One of the powers of chiropractic is its impact on the nervous system. Adjusting the spine can help balance these two. It’s kind of like a reset button.
Everyone’s chiropractic experience may vary
While it is true that many patients who come to the clinic, besides fixing and helping neck pain and low back pain, feel more energy. It may also be true that patients experience improved sleep from chiropractic treatment, and even improved digestion. All of these effects are much more than help with neck pain and low back pain. So it’s time to consider chiropractic for more than adjustments and remember that one thing may have a larger impact on the rest of your body- in this case, that impact is for good.
In reality, the two come hand in hand. If you have a healthy spine, generally you will have a healthy nervous system.
Additional Reading: Molecular Foundations of Chiropractic Therapy