You’ve Got A Lot Of Nerve

by Dr. Joseph F. Unger, Jr. DC., F.I.C.S.

You truly do. All told, the human nervous system is about 600 miles long. The brain has about 100 billion neurons and the spine over 13 million of these nerve cells. There are more nerve cells in one person than there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy. The number of interconnections between all of these cells is estimated to be close to a quadrillion, but not a single nerve actually touches the other. The longest nerves of the body are up to three feet long and can transmit information at almost 200 miles an hour. Wow!

The brain part of the nervous system alone accounts for about 2% of the body’s total weight. However it uses about 20% of the blood, oxygen and energy of the entire body: ten times the other body parts! Not only is it busy, it is absolutely essential for all health and healing. The brain and nervous system not only monitors every little function taking place in the body, it also provides neurological stimulation required for healing. This is the fundamental physiological basis of the philosophy, art and science of chiropractic.

Your body is a finely tuned and well-oiled machine with the brain in charge of all the functions. Directions for proper functioning are all transmitted along the nervous system. The nervous system starts in the brain, travels down the spine and exits between each vertebra traveling to virtually every part of the body. Without this neurological function, nothing works as it should.

There are a large variety of misalignments, distortions or neurological problems that we call subluxations. These subluxations can impede normal healing. Subluxations prevent the brain from sending the proper nerve energy and neurological signals to the body parts. These hidden blockages to healing can occur in the spine, pelvis, any of the joints and in the cranium. They often go unnoticed and can be totally without perceptible pain.

When we think of chiropractic, we usually imagine the traditional “pinched nerve” scenario where the person suffers from pain. This is the most likely reason that person seeks chiropractic treatment; however, there are other “silent subluxations” that can affect other body processes such as organ function. For example, I had a research project accepted at the 2009 Neuroscience Brain Research Conference. The title was “Viscerosomatic Reflex in a Case of Chronic Gastrointestinal Dysfunction” where a case was reported describing the effects of spinal treatment upon liver dysfunction. This person had many years of digestive pains relieved by the proper spinal treatments.

Because any given problem can have a multitude of possible causes, determining and properly treating the root cause of disease can be difficult and tricky business. As you might conclude from the variety of articles in The Healthy Planet, there are many ways to approach health and healing. If your specific condition is caused by a silent subluxation, you would be wise to consult your chiropractic physician.

For more information, contact Dr. Joseph Unger, Jr. at Atrium Health Services, 314-872-9955.