The human body is made up of approximately 11 trillion cells, with each interconnected and intimately coordinated like a professional symphony. The central nervous system, which is comprised of the brain, brain stem and spinal cord, is connected to the peripheral nervous system, which include the spinal and peripheral nerves and control our movement and body functions.
Our skull protects our brain and most of the brain stem and our spine protects the spinal cord and spinal nerves. The spine is made up of segments of bone called vertebrae, seven in the neck, twelve in the middle back that attach to the ribs and five in the lower back that are just above the pelvis, that include the sacroiliac joints.
The vertebrae and sacroiliac joints are separated by small cushions of cartilage called discs, which contain a jelly-like center called the nucleus and are surrounded by a fibrous structure called the annulus. The disc combines protein with approximately 80% water, giving it an elastic quality and provides for good shock absorption. Together, the bony structures and disc pads are positioned so that the spinal nerves can extend from the spinal cord to the rest of the body, whether it be to he skin, muscle, digestive system or any other tissue. The muscles that become connected during embryonic development make movement, posture and body heat production possible.
Now, when the nerves become compromised or entrapped due to vertebrae misalignment, impingement from muscle spasming, adhesions/scar tissue or inflammation, the organs and tissues "downstream" will be affected. The nerves are still connected to their designed tissues, however, the quality of the nerve transmission will be either slowed down or ramped up. So, one might experience a very angry sciatic nerve or shoulder pain, or a bladder that is overactive. The analogy of a dimmer switch is applicable in that if you turn it on midway to start, turning it up or down will produce an increase or decrease in the intensity of the light. So, our muscles and other organs still receive the nerve impulses, but altered ones, that may influence the less than happy you!
Now, what are the "takeaways"?
1. Altered nerve transmission may lead to restricted spinal and other joint area motion!
2. Shortened muscle tissue (from over-stimulated nerve transmission) may lead to decreased strength and flexibility, as well as scar tissue development (due to decreased circulation from squeezing on blood vessels)
3. Numbness or tingling may develop in the areas where the nerves travel.
4. Swelling or inflammation may occur in the disc, joints or surrounding soft tissue structures.
5. Degenerative joint disease may occur or be accelerated in the affected areas as bone spur formation.
Our care is designed to assess for preventative care as well as for acute injuries and chronic recurrent pain, utilizing chiropractic adjustments to the involved spinal and extremity points for increased mobility, soft tissue mobilization via FDM and ART to break down scar tissue that can cause nerve impingement, cold laser therapy for inflammation control, electric stimulation for balancing (modulating) the nerve impulses to the involved musculature, including to specific acupuncture points and direction for home care.
As January is typically a month when gyms and health clubs are inundated with an onslaught of post-holiday enthusiasts, February starts off strong, only to see interest wane because of time and cost. Try to be consistent and treat your health as a lifestyle rather than a binge, even if you work out a routine at home. Just be sure that you have the proper guidance in exercising properly.
So, if we can be of help, please give our office a call. We are thankful for the trust that Atlanta to Lake Oconee area residents have had in us for the past 35 years!
Resource: Guyton's Basic Human Physiology; W.B. Saunders Company, 1977
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