Understanding Your Nervous System

The nervous system controls and coordinates every function of the human body. Therefore, interference with the nervous system will have a broad effect on function of the body. It is your nervous system that allows you to adapt to, and live in your environment.

A large portion of your nervous system passes through your spine. It is your spinal cord that acts as the major cable exiting your brain, travels down inside your spinal column and branches off into spinal nerves at various levels of your spine. These spinal nerves then exit between individual spinal vertebrae and go to the various parts of your body.

To be healthy it is essential that your nervous system function properly and free from any interference caused by subluxations.

Subluxations can cause interference to the nervous system at any point along the spine where the nerves exit. This can adversely affect the function of various parts of your body, and ultimately your health. The information below is designed to give you a look at just some of the relationships between the areas of your spine and your nervous system. Keep in mind that your nervous system is much more complex than can be talked about here.

The Upper Cervical Spine: C1(Atlas) and C2(Axis)

  • Located at the top of your neck, just below the skull.
  • One of the most moveable areas of the spine
  • One of the most important areas of the spine because much of the nervous system passes through this vital point.
  • Subluxations in such a vital area can have dramatic effects on normal function.
  • Some examples of what nervous system interference can result in:
    • Headaches
    • Facial Palsy
    • Sinus Trouble
    • Allergies
    • Fatigue

The Upper Cervical Spine consists of two bones, the Atlas, (C1) and the Axis, (C2) at the top of the neck. Much of your nervous system passes through this vital area. This area is also the most movable area of your spine. Because of this, subluxations in this crucial area are very common

Since this area is in such close proximity to the brain, subluxations here can result in an alteration to a large variety of body functions. Much of the body’s nervous system messages flow past this point. This means that very large areas of the body are supplied by the nerves that pass through or near here.

Some of the areas of nerve supply that can be affected by subluxations in the upper cervical spine include your brain, head, and face. Nervous system interference here could result in headaches, facial palsy, sinus trouble, allergies, fatigue, cross-eyes, or dizziness.

The Cervical Spine: C1 – C7

  • Consists of seven vertebrae in a person’s neck.
  • Nerves passing through this area control much of the upper body’s functions
    • Musculoskeletal conditions – muscles and joints of the upper extremity
    • Organ systems – throat, sinuses, thyroid, lymph nodes and diaphragm
  • It is imperative for organs, systems, muscles, joints and other tissues receive proper nerve signals to function as they were intended.
  • Subluxations in this area can create imbalances, postural problems, and other functional problems.

The cervical spine consists of seven vertebrae. When the nerves that pass through this area are involved with subluxation areas such as the neck muscles, the shoulder, as well as the arms and hands are affected. In these situations, problems such as neck pain, arm pain, numbness, stiff neck, bursitis, as well as many other musculoskeletal problems are possible.

In addition to these areas, nerves originating in this area of the spine innervate the throat, sinuses, nose, thyroid gland, lymph nodes, diaphragm, and other organs and systems. When subluxation is involved in these areas a variety of functional problems can result.

It is imperative for the organs, systems, muscles, joints and all other tissues in these areas to receive proper nerve signals in order for them to function as they were intended. Subluxation reduces this function thus allowing the areas supplied by the nerves to be working at less than their optimal ability.

As with any portion of the spine, subluxations in this area can also have an effect on other segments of the spine and creating imbalances, postural problems, and functional problems elsewhere.

The Thoracic Spine: (T1 – T12)

  • Commonly referred to as the middle back, consists of 12 vertebrae.
  • Each individual vertebrae has a rib attached on either side
  • Nerves exiting this area of the spine go to muscles, other surface tissues, and internal organs.
  • Pain and numbness, or tingling, are just a few of the effects a subluxation in the thoracic spine can cause.
  • Nerves exiting the Thoracic spine innervate many of the body’s internal organs.
    • Heart, lungs, pancreas, gallbladder, liver, stomach, kidneys and more.
  • Subluxations affecting these organs can manifest into functional and systemic problems
    • Asthma, bronchitis, high blood pressure, ulcers, allergies, kidney trouble and digestive problems to name a few.

The Thoracic Spine, commonly referred to as your middle back, consists of 12 vertebrae, (T1 – T12). This is the longest portion of your back. Each of these vertebrae has a pair of ribs attached to them. The nerves that exit out between these vertebrae go to muscles and other surface tissues as well as internal organs.

Some of the surface areas these nerves go to include parts of the arms from the elbows down, the hands, and fingers. Also the muscles of the middle back, the chest muscles, and muscles of the rib cage are supplied by nerves that exit out from this area of the spine.

Pain or numbness and other musculoskeletal problems may be just some of the possible results from subluxations affecting these areas and tissues.

The internal organs supplied by nerves from the thoracic spine include much of the body parts supplied by the sympathetic nervous system. This portion of the nervous system innervates many of the organs in the chest and abdomen including, the heart, lungs, bronchial tubes, gallbladder, liver, stomach, pancreas, spleen, adrenal glands, kidneys, and small intestines. Subluxations affecting these organs can lead to a large list of functional and systemic problems including, asthma, certain heart problems, bronchitis, blood pressure problems, ulcers, allergies, kidney trouble, and digestive problems, to name only a few. Most subluxations affecting these areas go undetected for a long time before a health problem is ever noticed.

The Lumbar Spine: (L1 – L5)

  • Commonly referred to as your “lower back” and associated with pain.
  • Nerves exiting this area of your spine control vital body functions and large muscle groups, i.e. your lower extremity.
  • This area of your spine has the largest and strongest components as well as some of the body’s largest muscle supporting it.
  • In addition to muscles, nerves exiting this area send signals to all the joints of the lower extremity.
  • The large nerves exiting form the lumbar spine are responsible for control of the intestines, appendix, reproductive organs, bladder, prostrate and more.
  • Subluxations affecting this area can have negative results on a number of body functions.
    • Low back pain, sciatic nerve pain, numbness, muscle weakness and more.
    • Constipation, cramps, menstrual problems, infertility, bedwetting and more.

The Lumbar Spine is the part of your spine commonly referred to as your “lower back”. It consists of five large vertebrae, (L1 – L5). Although this is an area of the spine that many people recognize when they think of pain, the nerves that exit this portion of the spine have responsibilities for vital body functions. This area of your spine has the largest and strongest vertebrae and some of the largest muscles supporting it.

The nerves that exit from these areas are large and control some very large muscles. These muscles include the large and small muscles of the lower back, the muscles of the thigh, legs, calf muscles, and feet. The sciatic nerve has its origin from the nerves that exit from the lumbar spine. In addition to the muscles, many joints in this area are also supplied by nerves from the lumbar spine including the hips, knees, ankles and feet.

Many organs and tissues also get their nerve supply from nerves that exit from the lumbar spine. These include the large intestines, appendix, male or female reproductive organs, the bladder, prostate gland, and others.

Subluxations in these areas can have a vast affect including pain in the lower back, legs, or sciatic pain. Numbness in the back and legs is also possible. Muscle spasm or weakness can also result. Scoliosis and joint problems are also possible.

If the organs supplied by these nerves are affected, the possible results include, constipation, diarrhea, cramps, varicose veins, bladder problems, menstrual problems, infertility problems, bed wetting, urination problems, and poor circulation, among others.

The Sacrum and Coccyx

  • Commonly called the “tail bone”
  • Nerves exiting this area affect both muscular structures as well as internal organs and organ systems.
    • Muscles of the buttocks, hips, thigh and leg
    • Organs and tissues include the rectum and portions of the pelvic tissues.
  • The sacrum forms joints with the pelvis, aiding in stabilization of the pelvic girdle.
  • Problems that may develop include sacroiliac instability, hemorrhoids, scoliosis and pain when sitting.

The sacrum and coccyx are commonly referred to as your “base bone” or “tail bone”. As a child the sacrum consists of five individual bones and the coccyx is made up of three to five bones. In the adult, the sacral segments and the coccygeal segments fuse so that each of these two bones are solid singular bones. The sacrum forms joints with each of the hip bones and helps to stabilize the pelvis.

The nerves that exit the sacrum and coccyx go to the tissues and organs in that area. These include the muscles of the buttocks and hips as well as portions of the thigh and leg.

In addition, organs and tissues such as the rectum and portions of pelvic tissues are also innervated by these nerves. As a result, some of the problems that may occur as a result of subluxations here could be sacroiliac conditions, hemorrhoids, scoliosis, and pain when sitting.