How healthy is your nervous system?

Author: Emma Gilbert

The reason that Chiropractors work on the spine, isn’t because we like backs, it’s because your spine houses your Central Nervous System, the automatic, unconscious, working in the background system that controls every part of your health. Including how much energy you have, how well you sleep, how relaxed or tense you are and how quickly you heal (or how easily you come down with a cold or virus). This is the system that controls your quality of life.

So how do you measure it? Surely if you feel well or fine, then you are? If you are as well as you feel then why do people who feel perfectly well one day, have an unexpected heart attack or discover they have cancer that has been developing for weeks, months or even years? Plus, if you feel a certain way for a long period of time for example, tired, worn out and eventually in pain, your body and brain begin to make this long term state “normal” i.e. feel more comfortable. In time, you forget how it feels to wake up in the morning, refreshed, happy and full of energy excited for the future (and no that state of mind isn’t just for the young)! This is why we believe that how you feel isn’t a good way of  measure how healthy you really are.

The March Test

Woman demonstrates march test as chiropractic nervous system test.

Here at Radcliffe Chiropractic Clinic we use the “March test” as a really simple but effective way of measuring how well your nervous system is working.

How does it work? By marching on the spot for one minute with your eyes closed, your brain is working from feedback from your body about where it is in space. At the same time, your brain is send the instruction to your body to stay on one stop, telling the feet to return to the same place it left when you lifted your foot to march.

What do we find? Usually some very surprised patients! Most people feel like they are staying more or less on the same spot despite marching anywhere between 20 and 60 inches away and possibly even rotating around.

Woman demonstrates march test as chiropractic nervous system test.

Why does this happen? Simply, because the messages between your brain and your body (“stay on the spot, doing this march”) and your body and your brain (“yes, that’s exactly what I’m doing”) are broken down and the messages are not getting through, making them unreliable.

These messages become inaccurate due to restrictions developing in the spine. A number of reasons cause the spine to stop moving freely so that the messages can be easily conducted. The most common reasons are stress (physical, mental and emotional which all have a huge impact on the body), posture strain and structural degeneration in the spine (e.g. wear and tear or osteoarthritis).

These restrictions in the spine are blocking the full signal so the brain is interpreting inaccurate information and therefore can’t make the best decisions for your nervous system to respond. This means you can’t adapt to your environment properly and you will then develop symptoms like pain, stiffness, poor sleep, low mood or low energy.
Clearing a pathway for the communication between body and brain is how Chiropractic works to allow your body to heal itself.