Unless you completely avoid watching the news you may have heard that there is something sweeping the world over and not in a good way.  The coronavirus has dominated the headlines for weeks now and unfortunately the threat of illness has now hit the US and people are starting to panic.

It is totally understandable, not much is known about the disease but have no fear, you have much more power over this problem than you know!

Our bodies are designed to heal from within, they are designed to identify bacteria, viruses and other toxins that cause us to fall ill and destroy them before they have a chance to destroy us.  However, if our body is to protect us in this way it first needs to be functioning at its best…this is what I would like to talk to you about today.  In order to fully explain how chiropractic helps your body to fight off illnesses like the coronavirus we must first review some anatomy.

Our nervous system has 2 major divisions.  Our central nervous system,  which consists of the brain and the spinal cord, is the central hub, the command center so to speak.  The peripheral nervous system, which includes all of the nerves in our body, relays messages between the brain and every organ, gland, cell and tissue in our body.

The peripheral nervous system is further subdivided into the somatic nervous system and the autonomic nervous system.  The autonomic nervous system is what keeps the “automatic” functions in our body working, you know, the things we don’t have to think about they just work.  This includes our heart rate, blood pressure, digestion and our immune system.

The autonomic nervous system is then further divided into the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.  You may be familiar with the term “fight or flight”, this is the job of our sympathetic nervous system.  When we come up against some sort of threat our sympathetic nervous system jumps into action to help us to be successful in either our fleeing or fighting.  It does this by focusing on the systems of our body that will have the biggest impact in helping us to overcome this threat.  Our breathing will become more rapid, our heart rate speeds up, we become more alert and at the same time “non-essential” functions like digestion, elimination and our immune system get put on the back burner.  That is not to say that they too aren’t vital but when faced with a “life or death” situation they really don’t help us to stay safe.

While this system is great when there is a real danger it does have a shadow side.  Our primitive brain is wired to keep us safe, this means that ANY stress will prompt this stress response.  So, it doesn’t matter if you are being chased by a bear or just stuck in traffic, your sympathetic nervous system is going to respond the same way and the result is problems with digestion (think reflux, indigestion), problems with elimination (irritable bowel syndrome, constipation, diarrhea) and….you guessed it….lowered immune response.

The other side to this coin is the parasympathetic nervous system.  This division of the autonomic nervous system is what is responsible for the everyday functions that our body needs to survive; it is sometimes referred to as “rest and digest”.  When our parasympathetic nervous system is running the show the focus is on digesting, resting, reproduction and a properly functioning immune response.

So, where does chiropractic come in you ask?

The parasympathetic nervous system arises from the cell bodies of the motor nuclei of cranial nerves III, VII, IX, X, and XI in the brainstem and from the second, third, and fourth sacral segments of the spinal cord.  When adjustments are made to these areas it helps to “turn on” the parasympathetic response which negates the sympathetic response.  In other words it combats the effect that stress has on our body.

In my chiropractic office I practice a technique called Torque Release Technique or TRT for short.  The areas of the spine where the parasympathetic response is dominant are my primary focus when looking for areas of  subluxation (misalignment).  By making specific adjustments to subluxations in these areas I am able to help the body to reverse the stress response.

When the parasympathetic nervous system is dominant the body is actually able to repair and heal from within.  

So, in closing, if you have a chiropractor make sure that you are seeing them on a regular basis so that you can keep your body functioning at its best.  If you are in need of a family chiropractor I urge you to give the office a call.  I will be happy to answer any questions you may have!  I should also add (the nurse in me can’t let me close this without saying) to reduce your risk of getting sick be sure to wash your hands for at least 20 seconds (be sure to scrub the palms and the backs of your hands), cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze, if you aren’t coughing or sneezing don’t touch your face with unclean hands and if you aren’t feeling 100% stay home and rest…in this case sharing isn’t caring!

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