The nervous system is a network of roads that feed into highways that connect to an interstate system. The roads are the nerves that innervate the muscles and the extremities; the interstate is the spinal cord. When the system works optimally, the nerves consistently transmit signals/messages to and from the brain without any problems. The signals travel back and forth, and the traffic flows smoothly. When the activities of these nerves and cells get disrupted, the central nervous system fails to perform basic functions that can cause musculoskeletal issues, conditions, and CNS diseases. Keeping the nervous system strong can be done by adopting ways to maintain health and function.
The Nervous System
The system regulates and coordinates body activities and is made up of two major divisions, these include the following:
- Central nervous system – consists of the brain and spinal cord.
- Peripheral nervous system – consists of all other neural elements, including the peripheral and autonomic nerves.
The principal organs of the nervous system include:
- Spinal cord
- Sensory taste organs
- Sensory smell organs
- Sensory receptors are located in the muscles, joints, skin, and other areas throughout the body.
A complex network of nerves, the nervous system reacts to internal and external stimuli through several physical actions to maintain vital bodily functions. These include:
- Body temperature
- Pain responses
- Support body posture.
- Strengthening the body to deal with day-to-day pressure and maintain quality of life.
Various disorders can affect the system and can be damaged by the following:
- Blood circulation disruption
- Structural Disorders like carpal tunnel syndrome and peripheral neuropathy.
- Functional Disorders could be headaches, neuralgia, and dizziness.
- Vascular Disorders
- Autoimmune disorders
The most common signs and symptoms may be experienced differently and can include:
- Back pain radiates to the feet, toes, or other body areas.
- Muscle rigidity/tension.
- Weakness or loss of muscle strength.
- Muscle atrophy.
- Loss of feeling.
- Persistent headaches.
- Sudden onset headaches.
- Headaches that change symptoms.
- Memory loss.
- Lack of coordination.
- Impaired mental ability.
- Double vision or loss of sight.
- Tremors and seizures.
- Slurred speech.
The symptoms of a nervous system disorder may present like other medical conditions or problems. Always see a professional healthcare provider for proper diagnosis.
Keeping the Nervous System Strong
Nutrition To Transmit Signals
Nerves need minerals, proteins, and vitamins to send electrical impulses. Foods that contain these nutrients include:
- Calcium — regulates the generated and transmitted electrical impulses. Milk, leafy greens and eggs are rich sources of calcium.
- Potassium – bananas, oranges, pomegranates, and prunes, are good sources of potassium.
- Dark chocolate contains tryptophan, an amino acid that produces and maintains neurotransmitters.
- Vitamin B — Vitamins B1, B2, and B6 assist the nerves in sending impulses from the brain to the body.
B Vitamins Provide Nerve Protection
A myelin sheath covers the nerves for protection and provides insulation for transmitting. Worn-out or damaged myelin sheaths have been associated with illnesses like Alzheimer’s. Vitamin B12 helps repair damaged nerves and regenerate fibers. It is found in beef, poultry, eggs, and seafood.
Folate or vitamin B9 promotes Schwann cell proliferation, migration, and production of nerve growth factor. This vitamin is found in spinach, pomegranates, and beets.
Stretching and Breathing
Stress produces the hormone cortisol. Constant production of cortisol affects the nervous system, which can affect reflexes, concentration, and memory. Stretching the body and learning breathing exercises and relaxation techniques activates the part of the nervous system responsible for breathing and heart rate, decreasing cortisol levels.
Chiropractic Care and Functional Medicine
The spinal cord has multiple functions in restoring, rejuvenating, and keeping the nervous system strong. Chiropractic care has a highly responsive therapeutic effect on the nervous system because of its focus on the spine. Spinal decompression, traction, soft tissue manipulation, and other treatments help regulate and restore the function of the nervous system. Chiropractic benefits:
- Reduces or eliminates pain.
- Regulates respiration.
- Lowers heart rate.
- Improves the quality of sleep.
- Increases energy.
- Improves digestive function.
- Improves cognition and clarity.
- Improves balance and coordination.
- Increases flexibility and mobility.
- Reduces or eliminates headaches and migraines.
Archibald, Lennox K., and Ronald G. Quisling. “Central Nervous System Infections.” Textbook of Neurointensive Care 427–517. 7 May. 2013, doi:10.1007/978-1-4471-5226-2_22
Bhagavati, Satyakam. “Autoimmune Disorders of the Nervous System: Pathophysiology, Clinical Features, and Therapy.” Frontiers in neurology vol. 12 664664. 14 Apr. 2021, doi:10.3389/fneur.2021.664664
Gyer, Giles, et al. “Spinal manipulation therapy: Is it all about the brain? A current review of the neurophysiological effects of manipulation.” Journal of integrative medicine vol. 17,5 (2019): 328-337. doi:10.1016/j.joim.2019.05.004
Jessen, Kristján R et al. “Schwann Cells: Development and Role in Nerve Repair.” Cold Spring Harbor perspectives in biology vol. 7,7 a020487. 8 May. 2015, doi:10.1101/cshperspect.a020487
Powers, Scott K et al. “Disease-Induced Skeletal Muscle Atrophy and Fatigue.” Medicine and science in sports and exercise vol. 48,11 (2016): 2307-2319. doi:10.1249/MSS.0000000000000975
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