doctor holding a model of a spine

 

Here at Revelations Chiropractic in Fort Collins, we love to talk and learn about the intricacies of the nervous system — it’s one of the reasons we became chiropractors! And we also enjoy sharing our expertise with clients, both in the office and here on our blog. Today’s post is devoted to a brief overview of how the nervous system works. Continue reading to learn more and if you have more questions or want to schedule a consultation, feel free to get in touch!

Neurons

The entire nervous system depends on neurons, or nerve cells, doing their jobs, whether it’s sending information from the eyes to the brain to help you read a book or pulling your hand back when you touch a hot bowl fresh from the dishwasher. 

There are billions of neurons in your nervous system and each has their own specific job. Primarily, though, they send and receive signals using dendrites that receive the signal and axons that pass on the signal. 

Neurons communicate using both electrical and chemical signals, and they can process information incredibly fast. Sensory stimuli — that feeling of heat from the plate — is converted to electrical signals that are carried along the neuron. Then, at the place where the neuron meets another cell, the signal jumps across a synapse (which can be a chemical or electrical junction) and passes the message to that cell. 

What does this all have to do with our chiropractors? Well, the communication between neurons is strengthened or weakened by what you do as an individual, like, say, getting regular chiropractic adjustments from Dr. Chad here at Revelations Chiropractic. Other things, like exercise and stress, can also contribute to the general health of your nervous system.

Voluntary and Involuntary Nervous Systems

The nervous system can be broken down into two groups — voluntary and involuntary. The voluntary nervous system, as you might have guessed by its name, controls everything that you’re aware of and can control, like stretching when you feel lower back pain. 

The involuntary nervous system on the other hand regulates a bunch of systems that we need to stay alive, but that we can’t consciously influence, like the heart beating and your breath. While you can definitely increase your heart rate and how fast you’re breathing by going for a run, you can’t move them like you would an arm or leg. And they keep working even when you are asleep.

Spinal Cord

As chiropractors, our main focus is on spinal health. We know how central your spine is to the functioning of the rest of your body, and how lower back pain can lead to pain in other areas of the body, like the neck, pelvis, and upper legs. The spine is our body’s central support, so it’s vital that you treat pain seriously and allow a chiropractor to help.

The spine consists of the following parts, in order from top to bottom:

  • Cervical Spine
  • Thoracic Spine
  • Lumbar Spine
  • Sacrum

There are natural curves in a healthy spine, and those curves are what help you stay balanced and upright. But the curves can also cause pain when they are disrupted or out of balance. A misaligned lumbar spine, for example, can cause lower back pain. 

Vertebrae and Spinal Discs

The bones in your spine are called vertebrae, and the cushion between them are your spinal discs. If you’ve heard the term slipped or herniated disc, it refers to when one of these rubbery disks crack and lose their cushion. A spinal disc herniation can be extremely painful, and some require physical therapy and surgery. 

Over the years, the pressure of standing upright compresses our spinal discs, causing more spinal curvature and possibly back pain. A chiropractor can help reduce and relieve this pain, as can walking and sitting with better posture. No matter how well you take care of your spine, though, there will inevitably be wear and tear to your spinal disks. You can see this compression in people who live to be very old — they’ve “shrunk” a little (a few centimeters or so) because their spinal discs have become thinner and their spine has curved over age.

Spinal Cord and Muscles

Each part of the spinal cord is connected to specific major skeletal muscle groups. These muscles control the spine’s movement, for example bending over to pick up something off the ground. When these muscles are tight or strained, they can contribute to pain, especially lower back pain. Stretching between visiting the chiropractor can help, and we help patients by recommending stretches for their particular source of pain.

Revelation Chiropractic in Fort Collins

Our Fort Collins team of chiropractors knows that chiropractic adjustments can change lives — we’ve seen it happen. We are proud to offer chiropractic care to people of all ages, helping them live happier and healthier lives.

If you’re suffering from lower back pain, spinal pain, or other central nervous pain, our chiropractors can help. Contact us today and ask about our new patient special!