Yes it can. According to every medical journal and textbook, the spine and nerves coming off of the spine transmit signals to every muscle, organ, tissue and gland in the body.
Your spinal vertebrae house your spinal cord and nerves. Each time you are adjusted by a chiropractor it influences the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). This system regulates everything in the body. It tells your heart when to beat, lungs when to breathe and automatically digests all of the food you eat. It also connects to the immune system. This happens without you thinking about it. The body works and regulates all on its own and heals on its own as well.
In most cases when a patient first visits a chiropractor, they are coming in for some type of discomfort. Pain, discomfort and malfunction of the body is all a sign that something is wrong. Pain is the way the body is protecting the area from further damage and saying “take care of me or you won’t be able to use me.” When a chiropractor treats you, they are not only helping the symptom in which you came in with, but also affecting the nerves that are also connected to the painful area including the organs.
According to the Merck Manual which is used by everyone in the medical community and all physicians:
“Disorders of the autonomic nervous system can affect any body part or process. Autonomic disorders may result from other disorders that damage autonomic nerves (such as diabetes), or they may occur on their own. Autonomic disorders may be reversible or progressive”.
Many times patients are really surprised when they find out that their digestion and elimination has improved with mid back and low back treatment. How does this happen? Well, the nerves that are attached to the mid back and low back are connected to the digestive area, intestines and rectum leading to better processing of food. Make sense?
The ANS also has 2 main divisions:
Each and every second our brain has to process what is happening in our environment and decide how it is going to react and adapt to what is being presented to us.
If we are frightened, stressed or exercising, our Sympathetic (fight or flight) system is at work. If we want to sleep or digest our food, our parasympathetic system has to increase and sympathetic system decreases to allow our body to slow down and process food or fall asleep. We can’t sleep if we are walking or scared right? How we adapt and react to our environment and any stress presented to us is vital to our health.
What else is the ANS responsible for?
1. Regulation of blood pressure
2. The rate of our heartbeat
3. Our breathing
4. Our body temperature
5. Processing and digestion of food
6. Our metabolism (rate at how our body breaks down our foods)
7. Balance of Electrolytes (magnesium, potassium, sodium etc.)
8. Urinary tract (kidney/bladder)
9. Elimination (Intestines/bowel)
10. Reproductive organs
Many organs are regulated by both the sympathetic and the parasympathetic nervous system. Depending on the situation, the organ may act completely different.
For example, you eyes react differently when one system overrides the other. Sympathetic: Pupils dilate to see as much as they can to look for predators or stressors in the environment. Parasympathetic: Pupils constrict because the body is relaxed and not having to see as far because it is not stressed.
In general, our sympathetic system is our “primal” body instinct that protects us from harm.
The parasympathetic system is slower paced and takes care of daily rejuvenation or resetting type situations like sleeping for healing and digestion for cleansing and elimination.
Again, since the ANS is the brain and spinal cord, when we put an impulse to your bones which house these areas, it transmits a signal to the nerves that run to the organ, tissue or gland in that area. The brain interprets the information and decides which system will be used after the body receives this impulse. We do more than just help relieve pain, we help the body function at its highest capacity!