The Nerve of It All

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Perhaps you are familiar with sixth grade human biology. You understand that the nervous system is Grand Central Station for our blood supply to the cells, organs and various systems in the body. But did you know that many of those who suffer from autoimmune disease coincidentally have a curvature in the spine?

What does the nervous system have to do with autoimmune disease? Frankly, more than you know!

What is it?

This article could easily get very technical due to the nature of this complicated system. However, I’m going to keep it as brief as possible and to the point.

The nervous system has two parts, the central nervous system (CNS) and peripheral nervous system (PNS). The central system includes the nerves in the brain and spine while the peripheral covers everything else. [1]

The central system nerves are protected by the skull and the vertebral canal of the spine. Throughout the vertebrae there are locations which can be compressed or “pinched”. Depending on the area of the compression there can be a wide variety of outcomes. If it’s in the upper vertebrae, the cervical spine, you might suffer from headaches and migraines. If it’s somewhere in the middle, the thoracic spine, then it could be heart conditions, gall bladder problems, heartburn or ulcers. Maybe it’s in the lower areas in the lumbar, sacrum or coccyx where you would experience issues with the large and/or small intestine. All it takes is cutting off blood flow by compressing the nerves connected to the spinal cord in these areas to experience these issues and symptoms.


Compression, Blood Flow and the GI

We’ve all heard or know of someone with a “pinched nerve”. They typically lose feeling, have tingling and/or lose function of an area of the body as a result. What we never consider is adequate blood flow to our GI tract when we experience issues out of the blue. This is significant considering that our body attempts to heal itself by the inflammatory system sending information to the brain to send the troops, white blood cells, to the area of infection or an inflamed area. The brain in return sends an influx of white blood cells to the area to heal it as quickly as possible. But what if that signal or message never makes it to the brain? Or let’s say, the signal made it but the body wasn’t able to send adequate information and received only partial information about the problem. That’s right, you would end up with an area of the body that only heals partially and in some cases, doesn’t heal at all.

How Do You Know?

For some people, it could be easier to diagnose than others because they suffer from lower back pain regularly. For others, it’s much less obvious and will require an x-ray of the spine by a wellness chiropractor. The absolute best, most efficient way is to get eyes on the spine to measure the curvatures.

When my wellness chiropractor showed me the curvatures in my spine for the first time I was shocked. I had no idea that they existed. I did know that lower back pain was gradually becoming worse for me. I actually had an area that was deteriorating and it was very obvious on the x-ray. Right around L1 – L2 was where it was for me.

Once we had the results of the x-ray I looked at the spine and nerve diagram on the wall, much like this one below. The doc showed told me my upper spine, near the top at the C1 & C2, and in the L1 & T11 there was obvious compression. Looking at the following diagram, I quickly noticed that the GI tract is connected to these very area. The C1, C2, T11 and L1 are crucial to the information and blood flow to the colon and digestive tract. My particular flow was being inhibited by about 1/4 to these areas because of the compression and deterioration from this being there for such a long period of time. [2]

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Common Misconception

Chiropractors get a bad rap and some of them for good reason. Some will never teach their patients how to heal and will only accept them back for another pop and crack of the spine to gain a buck, but wellness chiropractors or chiropractors that want to see you heal and teach you how. When I say chiropractor, this is what I’m referring to. Do not go out and make an appointment with the first chiropractor you see. For that matter, do not have your primary physician do the exam either. Find a wellness chiropractor that believes, practices and teaches functional medicine and wellness to their patients. Make sure they have a good reputation too.

What Should You Do?

If you want to give your body the absolute best chance at healing from within, give it maximum blood flow and nerve function. By doing so your body will be communicating at near max capacity and will help aid in the healing process instead of contributing to the problem. Have an exam on your spine and flexibility done by a qualified wellness chiropractor. You might be out $100 but you’ll know where you stand and what your baseline is.

We like lists to follow so here you go.

  1. Maximize nerve supply
  2. Get an examination of your spine and flexibility
  3. Continue learning. Never stop!

Last but definitely not least, may God’s grace be with you!

References:

  1. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmedhealth/PMH0072574/
  2. http://www.neuroxcel.com/News/Great-Post-about-:Spinal-Cord-Injury-Levels/