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Is Nerve Interference Real?

by | Pain, Back Pain, General, Neck Pain

One of the core assertions of chiropractic is that spinal dysfunction puts pressure on the nerves of the body and causes nerve interference with ill health as a result. (When we say spinal dysfunction, we mean errors in the normal motion or position of spinal bones, known as subluxation.) Sounds plausible enough. There are some in health care that dismiss this thought as silliness, saying that a nerve with pressure on it would exhibit some type of symptom, like tingling or numbness. Think about hitting your “funny bone” as an example.

Can Nerve Interference Be Measured?

In the early 1980’s, brain researcher Roger Sperry found that only about 10% of nerve pressure results in any measurable symptom. Why? Because only about 10% of the nerve fibers carry inbound symptom signals to the brain. The other 90% are busy carrying outbound (motor) messages or running other body processes (digestion, etc.).

So, it seems feasible that you could have nerve pressure and not know it from any symptom.

We have known for a long time that nerves are sensitive to stretch and pressure and that these things change the way that nerves transmit their messages. In a 2007 study, researchers found that even 5% stretch on a nerve caused nerve interference and decreased its ability to transmit messages by 16%. When the stretch was removed, the nerve returned to normal firing.

This makes sense to the engineer in me. We have a formula in engineering that says:

the resistance of a wire to the flow of current is proportional to the ratio of its length to cross-sectional area.

the resistance of a wire to the flow of current is proportional to the ratio of its length to cross-sectional area

Used with permission from https://courses.lumenlearning.com/physics/chapter/20-3-resistance-and-resistivity/

Huh? Basically, the longer and thinner a wire is, the more it resists the flow of electricity. Think of a thick, short hose versus a long, thin one. The thick, short hose has less resistance to the flow of water through it. Same principle in electricity.

So, when you stretch a nerve, it resists the flow of the nerve impulse and is reduced in its ability to send messages to the body. That’s nerve interference?

Why Does This Matter?

Because trillions of nerve messages regularly flow through your nervous system to coordinate and control every function in your body! Uncoordinated or reduced nerve function over time results in a lowered state of health.

Improper posture and poor joint function cause stretching of the spinal cord and nerves. This dysfunction in posture and movement is what chiropractors call subluxation.

Recent research by Dr. Deed Harrison correlates abnormal posture in the cervical spine to heart disease, decreased systemic health, and accelerated arthritis.

What does all this mean? It means that the 100+ year old concept of nerve interference postulated by the founders of chiropractic science is very real. It affects the health of millions every day.

Chiropractic care just might be the solution you or a family member or friend has been looking for to regain and maintain your best health. Give us a call and let’s find out.

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