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The Vital Connection: Your Spinal Column and Nervous System

By Dr. Craig Penny

What is the connection between the spinal column and nervous system?

The nervous system and spinal column provide a connection to every organ in the human body. The spinal cord, a crucial component of the central nervous system, is located within the spinal column (CNS).

According to Grey's Anatomy, "the nervous system controls and coordinates all organs and structures of the human body." This includes things like heart rate, blood vessel activity, gland activity, and other organs. The brain and spinal cord are the only organs in the body completely protected by bone because of their critical importance.

The spine is made up of 24 movable vertebrae with the sacrum and pelvic bones forming the base. The spine has discs that act as cushions between each vertebra. There are also "neural foramen" openings between each vertebra where nerves exit the spine.

What should your spine look like when it’s in correct alignment?

The spine should have an S shape from the side or lateral view. This shape provides the spine with movement flexibility, strength, and even weight distribution. The cervical and lumbar curves form a slightly inward or lordotic C-shape. The thoracic spine curves outward, opposite the cervical and lumbar spines. The spine from the front view should be straight from the pelvis up to the skull.

What happens when a vertebrae is misaligned?

A vertebral subluxation is a misalignment of one or more vertebrae which causes pressure on the spinal cord. It causes the nerves that emerge from the spine to interfere with their ability to function.

The curves of the spine will alter because of structural imbalance, and the muscles that run along it will tension, spasm, or weaken and atrophy.

Subluxation is the most common bodily issue that is ignored. One problem is that a subluxation can be asymptomatic, known as "the silent killer," going unnoticed for a long time before causing a variety of health problems.

A misaligned cervical vertebra results in the loss of the cervical curve. Military neck, sometimes known as "text neck," has become very common, especially for kids.

The human head weighs about a dozen pounds. But as the neck bends forward and down, the weight on the cervical spine begins to increase. That’s the burden that comes with staring at a smartphone — the way millions do for hours every day.

Causes of Spinal Misalignment “Vertebral Subluxation”

The spine develops and forms healthy spinal curves during the first 15 years of life. However, several childhood activities can cause spinal misalignments. Even a difficult birth can result in cervical spine subluxation. Many adult spine problems are developed at a young age.

Here are six common causes of spinal misalignment.

  • Accidents: One of the most common causes of spinal misalignment.

  • Poor form during exercise: Incorrect lifting technique puts strain on the spine.

  • Stress: Tension in spinal muscles can lead to vertebras misaligning.

  • Constant falls: Occasionally, this is seen in children learning to walk.

  • Bad posture: Sitting at a computer for many hours.

  • Cell phone use: Looking down for prolonged periods, also known as “text neck.”

Some recognizable symptoms of spine misalignment include fatigue, numbness or tingling in the hands and feet, headaches, and frequent illnesses.

A fuse box in your home is a good analogy of a subluxation with the nervous system. A fuse will blow if there is too much "stress" running through the wires. Adjusting a vertebra is like resetting the fuse. Once more, energy is flowing!

What to expect at your first consultation in my office?

After taking your case history, my first step is getting an assessment of your spine by using a full spine x-ray. The assessment will show if you have proper spine curves, determine where the subluxation is in your spine, and how it is affecting your health.

The next step would be to use an instrument called the "Nervo-scope" that measures the temperature along the spine. When a vertebra interferes with the nerve system, the temperature of the spine changes.

The third step is to examine your posture and tone of the muscles that run along the spine. I use all this information to decide where I need to make a specific and safe spinal adjustment. It will also assist me in determining how many visits you will need to correct your problem. Simple cases will be between 12 or 15 visits, while others may need 18 or more.

As a practicing chiropractor, I use the Gonstead technique, which is regarded as the “gold standard” because of its effectiveness and safety. Gonstead spinal adjustments are gentle and precise. Chiropractic care for children is becoming more popular among parents, and children enjoy being adjusted. Adjusting a child's spine helps to ensure that the spine is developing correctly.

Benefits of Chiropractic Care for Children and Adults

  • Improves posture, concentration, headaches/migraines, digestion, and athletic performance.

  • Improves the immune system functions, aids in breathing, anxiety, back pain and muscle tension.

Your general health depends on having your spine examined and adjusted on a regular basis. Living a long and healthy life is all about prevention.

About Dr. Craig Penny

I graduated from Life University in Atlanta, Georgia, USA, with a Doctor of Chiropractic degree in September 2000. For 20 years, I worked as a Doctor in Buenos Aires, where I met my Ecuadorian-born wife. My wife and I, with our daughter, decided to move to Manta, Ecuador in April 2021 to be closer to family and enjoy the beautiful lifestyle Manabi has to offer.


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