It’s about time I talked about the vagus nerve.
Pinched Nerves and Fascia
If you want to stay young in body and mind, there are several things you must regularly include in your lifestyle. One of these is to make sure that no segments of your spine are compressing nerves at the junctions where they exit to your organs, muscles and tissues—“pinched” nerves. Along with this, you have to make sure that your vagus nerveis also free from any compression due to muscular tension, jaw and neck misalignment. You can achieve this using daily corrective exercises that take only several minutes to do.
In general, nerves pass through muscles, alongside bone, through joint spaces, in the seams between muscles, and in and around organs. Nerves are wrapped in a protective coat of connective fascia tissue, to provide a fluid, moveable support and allow the nerves to function normally when the body moves. When this fascial protective coat becomes damaged, nerves are unable to send their signals—and this causes disease and inappropriate aging.
When nerves are pinched, the fascia tightens-up and inhibits the nerve from moving in that local area. The fascia can become “stuck” to adjoining muscles, bones, joints and skin, and with movement, the nerves will then be tugged backward and forwards, leading to nerve dysfunction—they become incompetent at sending signals.
You may be aware of nerves being pinched when you find your hands or feet tingling, or going numb. This mostly occurs when a peripheral nerve’s fascia is compressed between locked-up muscles and tendons. It also occurs when a nerve is being compressed between a bone and a tight muscle or tendon—particularly around joints.
Chiropractors and osteopaths use manipulation techniques to realign bone joints to free up compression on the fascia and allow the nerves to work normally. By doing this, a host of symptoms are eliminated. Massage therapists release locked-up muscles to achieve a similar effect.
Physical nerve compression in the spine, jaw and neck contribute directly and indirectly to hundreds of ill-health symptoms. Some consequences are major such as: increasing immune inflammatory responses; making autoimmune disease symptoms worse; and accelerating tumour growth.
Nerve compression in the spine, jaw and neck can also contribute to organ dysfunction such as: abdominal bloating and pain; nausea and vomiting; difficulty breathing and running out of breath; unstable heart pulsing and abnormal blood pressure.
This nerve compression also contributes to mental health symptoms such as: dulling the memory and causing the brain to become fuggy; increasing irritability, emotional flatness, and loss of self esteem.
And this nerve compression can simply cause irritating symptoms such as: stress and tension headaches; ear pains; general tiredness and lethargy; skin itches; aches and pains of all sorts; degeneration of teeth, and others.
Your Body’s Public Service
When we play movement sports such as running, swimming, dancing, cycling, etc we are mostly involving the peripheral nervous system linking to skeletal muscles to facilitate our movement. Exercise can indirectly benefit those peripheral nerves through the spine, that also link to the organs and modulate your immune system. Yes your immune system. The nervous system communicates with the immune system through hormones, cytokines and other chemicals.
Our bodies have a “public service” that maintains our health and helps us age correctly. It is composed of two parts—our nervous system and our immune system. These two systems are in constant communication and support. Pinched nerves interrupt this communication, and therefore reduce your youthfulness.
Your nervous system
The human nervous system is composed of a central nervous system, which is the brain, spinal cord and peripheral nerves extending to the organs and tissues of the body. The part of the peripheral nervous system that influences the function of internal organs and immune system, is called the autonomic nervous system.
The autonomic nervous system has two parts. One of these excites the organs (and immune system) into “flight-fight” activity, pouring the stress hormones, cortisol and adrenaline, into your body—called the sympathetic nervous system, linked through the spine. The other one relaxes the organs (and immune system) into “rest-digest” activity, by releasing acetylcholine—called the parasympathetic nervous system.
The vagus nerve is the major part of the parasympathetic nervous system. It wanders from the central brain, down the front of the neck to the organs. It has two-way signalling of information from the brain to the organs and immune system, and back again, like a seesaw, to help modulate organ and immune function.
In summary, your spinal sympathetic nervous system helps kick the immune system and organs into activity, and your parasympathetic, mostly vagus nerves, tempers them.