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The brain and spinal cord are collectively called the central nervous system. The nerves that exit from the spine make up the peripheral nervous system.
Information about how the body systems are functioning is relayed to the brain through the peripheral nerves, or indirectly to the brain via hormones and chemicals in the blood.
The reponse to the information is coordinated by the brain in a reverse fashion, so that in the end, every cell in the body is under the influence of the central nervous system, either directly, or indirectly.
This is a highly simplified statement since the pathways involved are very complex and difficult to monitor. However recent research into nerve pathways in the neck have shown plausible mechanisms for changes in conditions such as blood pressure when posture changes (Study 1) and cervical spine adjustments are carried out (Study 2).
The Chiropractic Hypothesis
The hypothesis of chiropractic is that mechanical, chemical and emotional stressors that exceed the bodies natural ability to repair will inevitably lead to tissue malfunction and disease. The dis-ease state takes many years and can be corrected. attenuated or avoided by a series of specific adjustments to spinal segments and other joints, and lifestyle changes in general.
Somatic nerves are those nerves that are primarily involved in the function of the muscles, joints, skin and other connective tissue. They relay information to the brain about pressure, stretch, temperature and vibration. They also transmit nerve impulses to the muscles to coordinate movement.
Autonomic nerves are similar to somatic nerves in that they relay information. They are primarily concerned with the sensations and responses of the organs, glands and blood vessels