When you are sipping a cup of coffee and you suddenly burn your tongue with the hot liquid, your hands immediately pull the cup away from your mouth. When you are walking down the street and you hear a horn from behind, you suddenly move towards the side. All of these instances are being controlled by the nervous system. The presence of sensory stimulation sends signals to the brain and the brain in return sends signals towards the peripheral areas of the body for a desired movement or motor activity.
The nervous system is the master regulator of all body systems and it is the central communication system of the human anatomy, which is why your local Tampa chiropractor has to be so knowledgable about this aspect of your body. It acts based on sensory stimulation, thought, emotion and instinct through electrical signals, which are rapidly transmitted to and from the central nervous system and peripheral nervous system for rapid responses.
The Functional Organization of the Nervous System
The nervous system has three main functions. First, it monitors the changes that occur outside and inside the body through the different sensory receptors. These changes are considered stimulus and are collectively known as sensory input. Second, the nervous system interprets and processes these sensory inputs and makes decisions on what actions should be done. This process is known as integration and primarily happens in the brain. Lastly, the nervous system controls the effector organs on what to do to produce motor activity in response to a stimulus. The effector organs are the muscles and the glands, which in turn will stimulate other organs of the body such as the bones for movement. All these three functions happen simultaneously on the two basic parts of the nervous system: the central and the peripheral nervous system. The central nervous system consists of the brain and the spinal cord whose functions include receiving and interpreting signals and dictating movements while the peripheral nervous system consists of the spinal and cranial nerves that serve as communication lines between the different parts of the body to the central nervous system.
Aside from differentiating the central from the peripheral nervous system, an important fact to consider in the nervous system is the nervous tissue. The nervous system consists of special cells known as the nerve cells or the neurons, which are the basic structural units. There are billions of neurons in the body that enable the transmission of electrical signals from the nerves to the brain. These neurons live over years, but they are unable to divide or regenerate, which means that any destruction of the neurons may lead to irreversible nervous system damage. The neurons also have a high metabolic rate requiring glucose and oxygen to function. Any interruption in the oxygenation and blood flow to the nerves may also lead to irreversible nerve damage.
These functions and integration of the nervous system make the nervous system organs important structures of the body. The main premise of chiropractic care is to preserve, maintain and correct any problems in the nervous system, specifically in the peripheral nervous system as well as the spine in order to promote optimal nerve impulse transmission, brain integration, motor movement and overall functioning of the rest of the body.