Can Chiropractic Help?
A Sightseeing Tour Through the Nervous System
Michael D. Thomas, D.C.
Life is not all smooth sailing. When a problem occurs in our lives that
we can’t take care of by ourselves, we try and figure out where to go to
get some help. Many people really have no idea what Chiropractic can do,
and they wonder if Chiropractic can be of help.
Chiropractic is based on a very simple but profound idea. Structure
affects function. Misalignment of our bones creates an alteration in our
structure and this often alters the way our bodies function. Bones don’t
misalign on their own, they are moved and held out of place by muscles.
Muscles respond to direction by the nervous system. The nervous system
is a vast network composed of about a trillion neurons. Each neuron can
be interconnected with 10,000 other neurons. The nervous system has four
main functions: it allows us to move, to sense and feel, to control and
regulate body function, and it relates us to the outside world through
our various senses.
The complexity that we are is really quite unimaginable, and yet here we
are. The symptoms that our body communicates to us through our senses-
pain, fatigue, hunger, thirst, and so many others, are important
indicators that we are moving away from optimum functioning. Most of us
pay attention to hunger and thirst. We eat and drink and feel better.
Other inner messages are often ignored. We have been taught to ignore
pain or take a drug to stifle the message. Drugs can stop the message of
indigestion and we can go on eating foods that don’t agree with us. If
we have a chronic sense of something wrong, we can take drugs to quiet
the anxiety. If we lie awake at night in pain and or worry, we can take
drugs to make us unconscious.
Chiropractic has long recognized that symptoms are messages about how
well we are functioning. Killing the messenger of bad news does little
to change the news. Sometimes we can successfully avoid the messages for
a long time. Unfortunately, the messages can get more urgent, and there
are many who finally begin to heed this communication only in the back of
an ambulance on the way to the emergency room.
Chiropractic works to remove interference to the nervous system and allow
the free expression of life.
So what kind of things does the nervous system affect? What follows is a
tour through the nervous system.
The first seven bones of the spine comprise the neck, or cervical spine.
There are eight cervical nerves. The first nerve, or C1 innervates the
muscles of the scalp, inner and middle ear. It can be involved in stress
headaches, dizziness, disequilibrium, ringing or buzzing in the ears
(tinnitus), vertigo and Meniere’s disease.
The C2 nerve involves the sinuses and the eyes. It can be responsible to
visual disturbances (focus). Involvement of C2 can set the stage for
sinus infections and allegies (itching, sneezing, burning, and
C3 affects teeth, gums and jaws. It can create phantom tooth pain,
irritable gums, facial pain, and TMJ related problems. It can cause
fullness in the ears.
C4 goes to the glands in the throat. C5 innervates muscles in the neck
and can be involved with stiff shoulders.
C6 involves the point of the shoulder, travels down the outside of the
arm to the thumb and first finger (and sometimes the second). Raising
the arm at the shoulder can be a problem. C6 also affects the
parathyroid glands and people who are stiff in the morning and take a
while to get going can have issues here.
C7 goes under the collarbone, down the middle of the arm and into the
middle two fingers. It also goes to the thyroid gland. The thyroid
gland can become unbalanced and change our rate of metabolism.
C8 goes under the shoulderblade and down the side of the arm into the
last two fingers. Many folks come into the office with pain between the
shoulderblades and numbness in the last two fingers. Sometimes the hand
or arm tends to “go to sleep”.
So to recap a bit, the first set of nerves go into the head and neck.
The second set of nerves go into the arms. The third set go into the
body cavity and regulate body functions.
The first thoracic nerve, or T1 can be involved with pain in the
collarbone area, sometimes with deep pain in the top of the chest.
T2 goes to the heart. Sometimes interference at this area can create
T3 goes to the lungs. History of asthma, bronchitis, pneumonia can
indicate problems here. Do you have trouble taking a deep breath?
The next three nerves can be “lumped” together under the category of
T4 goes to the gall bladder. T5 goes to the liver. Symptoms here can
include heartburn, acid stomach gas, bloating, full feeling, sometimes
loss of appetite.
T6 goes to the stomach. Many problems can occur with digestion when this
area is involved. Many people try to resolve these issues with antacids,
antibiotics and stool softeners and hardeners. It is a 12 billion dollar
a year industry for the pharmaceutical companies.
The complexity of the nervous system doesn’t really allow for a simple
path for the next sets of nerves. However the next nerves go to the
adrenal gland which is responsible for body energy. If they become
involved they can create fatigue. Patients may say, “Since my back has
been hurting, I feel tired all the time.” Involvement of the spleen can
make a person feel sluggish.
The next nerves go to the urinary system. Many people have a history of
kidney stones, kidney infections, and bladder infections.
T12, and the lumbar nerves 1 and 2 go to the small and large intestines.
The first part of L3 goes to the reproductive organs. Women may find
irregular menstrual cycles or painful menses. Men may notice trouble
urinating. The second part of L3 comes over the hip, down the front and
side of the leg into the knee.
L4 comes out of the lower back, goes into a point of the hip, down the
back of the leg into the calf, around the side of the calf, down into the
heel and into the toes on the outside of the foot.
L5 comes around the beltline, down into the groin, down the inside of the
leg all the way to the big toe.
Cold and or feet can be associated with spinal misalignment. Peripheral
blood supply is regulated by nerves in the spinal cord.
Chiropractic does not address symptoms. These unpleasant feelings are
important messages that something is not working as it should. Rather
than shutting the message off with a drug, chiropractic works to unburden
and relieve the nervous system of interference. Life will find a way.
Chiropractic works with the power of life to uncover the Life we are
meant to live. It is conservative, non-drug, non-surgical care.
Chiropractic has the potential to be the primary care for many millions
of people, keeping them well and helping to steer the course back to
wellness in times of injury or disease. It is time for Chiropractic to
stop being the best kept health secret in America.