The nervous system can be pretty complicated and convoluted for those who don’t understand how the body works. The Gut–Brain Connection, refers to the communication between the central nervous system (the brain and spine) and the enteric nervous system (the gut). However, the more you understand the basics of the nervous system, the more you will understand how the gut-brain connection works and how chiropractic care can be a huge benefit of preventative health care.
Autonomic nervous system– Controls the automatic functions of the body such as breathing, heart and digestion… Things that occur without thinking. This system is made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous system.
Parasympathetic nervous system- Is your Rest-to-digest response. This allows your body to relax while your stomach does the work to properly digest.
Sympathetic nervous system- Your fight-or-flght response. When you feel stressed, your body reacts. Your heart rate increases and your digestion decreases.
Enteric nervous system– The main controller of digestion. This is the part of the nervous system that controls your gut including peristalsis (moving food) along the digestive tract. Some say this is “the second brain” in the body.
Stay with me here…..
The longest most utilized nerve of the nervous system is the vagus nerve. It plays a major role in your bodily functions by sending signals from your brain down to the digestive system including the heart and lungs. This nerve is a major component in the parasympathetic nervous system. The vagus nerve has many responsibilities, it regulates heart rate, plays a vital role in blood pressure, and can improve gastrointestinal function.
When your body is stressed, your fight-or-flight is always turned on which will not allow for rest-to-digest thus prohibiting proper digestion and optimal nutrients. This is why they say, stress and mental health can affect your physical health. Chronic stress can affect your immune response. Your body’s first response to handling something that is stressed or injured is to repair the body, the location site with inflammation. Temporary inflammation is a normal bodily function. The parasympathetic nervous system kicks in and calms everything down.
However, if the nervous system is not working properly and you enter this cycle of chronic stress and inflammation, this can lead to all types of problems such as decreased immunity (sick often), anxiety, depression, etc. Once the cup is full and over flows, big problems start to occur.
But this is where chiropractic care can help because they can correct that fight-or-flight response. Chiropractors can align the spine and adjust your atlas (in the neck). If the atlas and vertebrae are misaligned, this can cause a lack of blood supply going to the vagus nerve. Remember the vagus nerve is the pathway between your brain and gut. The lack of blood supply can interfere with the proper functioning of the vagus nerve, thus decreasing the communication to the digestive system, resulting in a sluggish response such as decreased peristalsis (digestion).
Chiropractors are able to access the vagus nerve without surgery or medication to balance your nervous system, improve digestion, protecting your microbiome, thus improve your immune system.
If your nervous systems are not balanced, and your vagus nerve is not functioning properly, it can cause many types of adverse health conditions and disease associated with chronic inflammation. Some of these conditions include….
- Decreased immune function making you more susceptible to illness/infection
- GI issues such as constipation, acid reflux, IBS
- Skin conditions
- Chronic pain, brain fog
- Heart disease, high blood pressure
- Osteoporosis, arthritis
In addition, chiropractic care is not limited to just adults. We take our children each year before the school year starts. Our chiropractor is the single, most amazing provider I have ever met. Chiropractic care is preventative wholistic care and should be a part of your annual health care practice or as needed.