How The Body Works in Owatonna
A special thanks to Josh Burnham, D.C., an Owatonna, MN Chiropractor, for providing this article.
The greatest privilege of being a doctor is having the opportunity to receive education in the incredibly complicated design of the human body. It took humanity many thousands of years to understand all the intricate details that make up who we are, and yet we are still learning new things about the body. For example, it was recently discovered that one of the main muscles involved in chewing has a previously unknown layer that has the role of elevating and retracting the jawbone. It is unclear what role this muscle layer may play in the development of jaw related disorders such as jaw pain, dental pain, and temporomandibular joint dysfunction or “TMJ”. While we are still learning new things about the human body there are other truths that are well established and thoroughly researched. One of the most well-known systems of the body is the nervous system. The nervous system is the domain of the chiropractor.
It is easy to take it for granted the degree to which we rely upon our nervous systems to function and live each day. Virtually every activity in the body is controlled and regulated to some degree by the nervous system. Whether it is breathing, digesting, sleeping, reproducing, moving, exercising, or healing—all bodily functions are controlled by the nervous system. The nerve system is a complex information superhighway made up of the brain, spinal cord, spinal nerves, and peripheral nerves. These components are categorized as the central nervous system, made up of the brain and spinal cord, and the peripheral nervous system, made up of the spinal nerves and peripheral nerves. The central nervous system does not heal well. Injury to the brain or spinal cord can have lifelong consequences. The peripheral nervous system can heal to a much greater extent. These two systems meet and exchange information at the entry of the spinal column. This is where the role of the chiropractor comes into play in the overall healthcare system. Chiropractors have the unique duty of maintaining the function of the spine so that no pressure is exerted upon the nerve system as it passes through the body structure of the spinal column thereby allowing proper information exchange to take place, thus restoring, and maintaining health.
Breakdown of information exchange within the nervous system can have devastating effects. This tends to be an abstract concept for most to understand. This is largely due to the obscurity surrounding the most important bodily system in public education. The average student only receives a very brief and surface lesson on the nervous system and certainly is not taught concerning its central role in maintaining the function of the entire human body. When the nervous system’s communication breaks down it can cause a variety of symptoms. For sake of space these symptoms will be limited to what can occur if the peripheral nervous system is not working properly.
The peripheral nervous system travels to the organs, muscles, and glands. Organs include the heart, lungs, kidneys, spleen, skin, etc. Well known muscles include the biceps, triceps, pectoralis, and hamstrings. The thyroid, adrenal, and gonads are examples of glands that are maintained by the peripheral nervous system. Each nerve that travels to the organs, muscles, and glands can be divided into somatic and autonomic components. The somatic portion of the nerve is what supplies both the sensation and the function to the skin, muscles, bones, ligaments, tendons, and fascia. A disruption in this nerve network can produce symptoms that people commonly present to chiropractors for treatment including neck pain, headache, migraine, back pain, shoulder pain, fibromyalgia, wrist pain, knee pain, arthritis, ankle pain, muscle weakness, bursitis, muscle atrophy, discoordination, numbness, absent or reduced reflexes, difficulty walking, falling and immobility.
This somatic portion of the peripheral nervous system is the more well-known of the two. The autonomic nervous system is responsible for coordinating the automatic functions within the body. These include regulating the functions of all the various organs and glands that we never have to think about (thankfully). These functions include breathing, digesting, healing, sleeping, adapting to stress, maintaining blood sugar levels, and maintaining blood pressure levels among others. Disruption to the nerve transmission within this neural network can produce issues within any of the mentioned organs and glands resulting in conditions like hypertension, heart arrhythmias, constipation, diarrhea, shortness of breath, frequent infections, high blood sugar, difficulty urinating, dysmenorrhea, amenorrhea, colic, enuresis, infertility, anxiety, depression, acid reflux, and indigestion among others.
Many people are surprised to learn that chiropractors can help patients heal from more than just aches and pains. Athletes know the importance of maintaining their spinal function and many famous players trust and rely upon the services of a chiropractor to keep them playing at their best. Additionally, thousands of patients have been helped heal from general health conditions since the profession began in 1895. It’s important to know that your spine is functioning at its peak potential by getting an examination. It’s like getting a dental checkup on a routine basis to prevent tooth decay. Routine chiropractic examinations can help identify, prevent, and manage spinal decay. Once you’ve received an examination, you’ll be able to know if you can benefit from chiropractic adjustments. Many are surprised to learn that adding chiropractic to their healthy lifestyle can benefit them in ways they never dreamed possible!
By Dr. Josh Burnham, D.C.