Lowering Stress for Optimum Health Part 3- Sympathetic Vs Parasympathetic Nervous Systems - What they control and what they are


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Lowering Stress for Optimum Health Part 3: Sympathetic Vs. Parasympathetic Nervous Systems - What they are and what they control - Dr. Jason Jones Elizabeth City NC, Chiropractor

The central nervous system is made up of the brain, spinal cord, and all nerves within our body. This system is split into different parts including the autonomic nervous system.

While the somatic nervous system controls the movement of our skeletal muscles, the autonomic nervous system regulates involuntary body functions.

The autonomic nervous system is split into the sympathetic (SNS) and parasympathetic nervous system (PNS). These two systems control the same general functions in the same parts of the body but produce opposing effects.

More so, both the SNS and PNS produce involuntary responses to various stimuli. However, you need to understand the function of each of these systems and what they need to function properly.

At our chiropractic office in Elizabeth City, NC, we always love to educate our patients on what to do to keep their autonomic nervous system working optimally.

Sympathetic nervous system (SNS)

This system controls the fight or flight response to external stimuli. When you’re faced with a perceived threat, whether emotional or physical, your sympathetic nervous system kicks into gear and bring about involuntary and automatic responses, such as:

  • Elevated blood pressure
  • Increased heart rate
  • elevated respiratory rate
  • contraction of muscles
  • heightened awareness
  • Release of adrenaline from the adrenal gland
  • Profuse sweating
  • Conversion of glycogen to glucose
  • Decrease in urinary output

Most times, the sympathetic nervous system shuts down many responses of the parasympathetic in order to gain more energy for the fight or flight response.

Parasympathetic nervous system (PNS)

This system also affects the same body functions as the SNS, but in a different way. Basically, the PNS works to slow down certain responses to bring the body to a state of calm and rest.

The PNS basically controls homeostasis or maintains a healthy balance across all of the body’s systems. The Parasympathetic responses include:

  • Decrease in heart rate
  • Increase of digestive enzymes
  • Constriction of bronchial tubes in lungs
  • Relaxation of muscles
  • Sphincter relaxation
  • Increase in urinary output
  • Saliva production

The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic side of the autonomic nervous system. It is heavily involved in digestion, blood pressure, heart, rate, and calmness. The vagus nerve also helps with urination, defecation, and sexual arousal.

How the SNS and PNS works

The SNS is a faster system as it moves along short pathways. Once it is activated, it stimulates the adrenal medulla to release hormones and chemical receptors into the bloodstream. This activates the target glands and muscles. And once the perceived danger is no more, the PNS takes over to counterbalance the effect of the SNS’s response.

Both the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems are vital for our health and survival. However, there must always be a balance between these two for our bodies to stay healthy and perform optimally.

A healthy balance of these two parts of your autonomic nervous system comes when your nerves and spinal cord are functioning properly.

At our Chiropractic Office at Elizabeth City, NC, Dr. Jason Jones help in giving the best chiropractic care to remove any nerve interference that could disrupt the balance of the sympathetic and parasympathetic responses. This allows your body to respond appropriately to any kind of stimuli and maintain proper balance to achieve optimal health.

You can visit our office or Consult Dr. Jason to learn more about your body’s nervous system and how to strengthen your vagus nerve for overall health and wellness.

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