Generally speaking, the nervous system (brain, spinal cord, and nerves) controls every function in your body. Our nervous system can be broken down and categorized based on function and/or location. For the past few weeks we have been discussing stress and the effects on the body, so today I want to discuss another aspect of health - the sympathetic nervous system (SNS).
In our spine alone there are over 300,000 nerve fibers and 31 pairs of spinal nerves. The sympathetic nervous system begins at the top of the thoracic spine and ends at the top of the lumbar spine, basically from your upper back down to the curve of your lower back. These nerves travel from your spinal cord to almost every organ system including the heart, stomach, small intestines, spleen, gall bladder and liver, large intestines, pancreas, and kidneys.
The SNS is best known for it's "fight or flight" response to situations and emotions. This is great when it comes to survival but can become an issue when the SNS doesn't switch off for the parasympathetic nervous system ("rest and digest") to calm and heal the body. Sympathetic Overload is the result of the chronic stimulation of the SNS.
Symptoms of Sympathetic Overload:
- Increased heart rate and blood pressure, which leads to cardiovascular disease.
- Hormone dis-regulation, increased cortisol, adrenal fatigue
- Headaches and increased muscle tension
- Nausea, vomiting, dizziness, and vertigo
If you are experiencing sympathetic overload, chiropractic care can help! Specific chiropractic adjustments balance out the nervous system by removing the interference so the body can return to proper function.