The nervous system is one of the most important aspects of the body – without it, we literally couldn’t experience anything! Despite this, we rarely, if ever think about the health of our nervous system, this week, we look at how we can care for, and perhaps even optimise, our nervous system.
The Nervous System
Your life is experienced through your nervous system. Think about that. Every thought, breath, heartbeat, memory, and movement happens in coordination with your central nervous system. Researchers have found that nerve signals can travel from your brain to your body at more than 250 miles per hour. As chiropractors, more often than not we’re unfortunately dealing with pain being sent around the body at 250 miles an hour – but it’s still pretty impressive!
Your brain is the master control system of your body with signals and messages starting in the brain and then heading out and down to your body – many of these signals, called “autonomic” signals, are sent without your conscious involvement – all of the functions of the body including breathing, digestion and the constant tiny contractions required throughout the muscles of the body to keep you upright and balanced are all sent without you ever having to even consider it. But here’s a question – can messages travel the other way? In fact the answers is yes – there are ways you can impact your brain by moving your spine!
Bio-hacking the nervous system
While you might think of the nervous system as a one-way machine, top researchers have actually found that specific movements of the spine, including the motion that happens during a chiropractic adjustment, can provide a multitude of benefits to your brain and nervous system. Specifically, chiropractic adjustments activate the nerves that detect and sense motion. When those nerves are activated, it stops (or gates) the nerves that deliver pain signals. That is one of the reasons why adjustments help to provide pain relief. They literally “turn off” the pain sensors – of course this relief is only short term, and eventually the pain will come back without working at correcting the issue which has actually caused it in the fist place – but when you’re suffering with acute back pain, any relief right there in the moment can be invaluable! 
Perhaps even more exciting is the research that has shown adjustments can actually have positive long term effects on the nervous system – for example in terms of an increase in cortical drive. That’s a fancy way of saying researchers have found adjustments may actually make you stronger.
Chiropractic care has been helping people live their best life for over 100 years. Having a higher quality of life and feeling better (with less pain) are two of the most popular reasons why people seek chiropractic care. But new research into sports performance, strength, and how the adjustment can improve brain function have a lot of people excited. We would love to hear how chiropractic care has changed your life. Stop by the front desk and tell us your story today!
 Mechanism of action of spinal manipulative therapy. Joint, Bone, Spine 2003.
 Neurophysiological effects of spinal manipulation. Spine Journal 2002.