Are you the type of person that seems to get every cold, flu, illness that your child, co-worker, family member, or friend has? Is it getting on your nerves? Are you beginning to believe that’s normal? Ever wonder why one person gets sick doesn’t mean everyone in the entire room has to? Your ability to ward of disease, fight infection, and stay well is dependent on the most important system in the human body. Let’s explore…
Central Nervous System & Immunity
The past 20 years of health science and research has seen a tremendous increase in the knowledge and understanding of the human immune system. The findings have completely changed our approach to health care as we slowly change from a disease/symptom model to one in which the function and communication of the immune system is optimized.
Our bodies are constantly under attack from foreign invaders such as environmental toxins, pollutants, bacteria, germs and viruses. The immune system is our body’s natural defense against these attackers. The immune system is made up of organs, structures and white blood cells whose job it is to identify and destroy disease causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses, and even the body’s own cells that have malfunctioned.
Central Nervous System & Immune System
Neuro-endocrino-immunology is a point of intersection in the field of immunology. It is also referred to in scientific literature as psychoneuroimmunology. The emerging concept is that the cells of the immune system and inflammatory systems communicate directly with the peripheral and or central nervous system.
This connection or communication pathway is also mediated via the bloodstream, and therefore involves hormonal communication. The term hormone not only signifies classical endocrine systems, but also molecules released by the nervous and immune systems which have functional effects from some distance.
Thus, the brain and the nervous system are part of a neuroimmunoregulatory network in which each of the various components not only communicate with each other, but also regulate additional sites in the body.
There are two main pathways that connect the brain and the immune system, namely the autonomic nervous system, (made up of the sympathetic and parasympathetic components), and the hypothalamic-pituitary-adrenal-axis (HPA). In order for the two systems to influence one another, they must have a mechanism by which to communicate. The main type of communication is mediated by chemical messengers which are released by nerve cells, endocrine organs and immune cells.
The nervous system affects the immune system both directly and indirectly. The direct effect is via the synapsing of neurons with white blood cells in lymphoid tissues, while the indirect effect is through blood-borne neurotransmitters and hormones, which activate receptors on the white blood cells surface.
Basic studies shed light on immune function
Immunologists at Oregon State University have recently uncovered some important clues as to how the immune system works at a fundamental level.
One of the things that have intrigued scientists is the apparent correlation between inflammation and a dysfunctional immune response, especially with autoimmune diseases. Steroid treatments, for instance, which have strong anti-inflammatory effects, are often used to treat autoimmune disorders. “But using a powerful steroid drug, which can have many side effects, to indirectly affect something as delicate as the immune system is like hitting an ant with a sledgehammer”, according to Anthony Vella, an assistant professor of microbiology at OSU. “What we have tried to identify is exactly how the process of inflammation is related to immune function and what cellular processes are involved.”
IMMUNE SYSTEM DYSFUNCTION
There are some sixty-five million Americans who suffer from a dysfunctioning immune system and the number is growing at a rapid rate.
Much of the increase has been due to the aggressive and invasive approach of treating symptoms with medication, as opposed to restoring and maintaining the proper function of the immune system. Manifestations of immune disorders include:
- Autoimmune, in which the cells of the immune system confuse normal body cells with foreign antigens and attack them. Autoimmune disorders include: rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, allergies, lupus, diabetes and multiple sclerosis.
- Immunodeficiency disorders are characterized by a weak immune system response and are often associated with chronic infections. They include Epstein-Barr, AIDS, viral infections, otitis media, and even cancer may result from immune suppression.
The cause of autoimmune and immunodeficiency disease has yet to be completely understood, and it is likely that a variety of factors are involved. But a growing number of researchers, including the 1999 Nobel Prize winner in medicine, Dr. Gunter Blobel, are looking at a breakdown in the cell to cell communication of the immune and nervous system to be a leading contributor of immune system dysfunction.
Upper Cervical Chiropractic and the CNS Immune System:
At all biological levels, communication between elements is essential for the proper functioning of the system. This communication process is essential to the homeostasis of the body. The foundation of health begins with a properly function nervous system to the extent that we can equate levels of function and healing capability with the ability of the nervous system to send and receive information. The trend in immunological research clearly demonstrates that restoring balancing, facilitating and maximizing the communication systems of the body is the key to optimal health and immune function.
Since its inception, chiropractic has asserted that viruses and microbes don’t threaten us all equally and that a healthy immune system easily repels most invaders. The immune system protects us from colds, the flu, other unknown invaders, as well as any other infectious disease. The immune system strives to help us be well. Our immune system, like every other system in the body, is coordinated and controlled by the nervous system.
Upper Cervical Chiropractors corrects spinal abnormalities called vertebral subluxations that result in interference of the nervous system by placing pressure on nerves and the brainstem, which is involved in all automatic processes of the body including immune system function. Since the nervous system controls all functions of the body, including the immune system, chiropractic care can have a positive effect on immune function.
Even though might not be sick, your body may still be “misaligned” and interfere with your nervous system and in turn your immune system. Regular chiropractic check-ups can help you to maintain a healthy immune system and stave off illnesses, allergies, and various other chronic health conditions. A chiropractic adjustment will restore the balance of your nervous system and restore the flow of energy and information throughout the body, thus validating one of the great benefits of chiropractic care!
Never had your nervous system checked? Here’s your chance.