Vagus Nerve Effects on Immune System and Inflammation

Vagus NerveThere is an important nerve in your body that makes direct connections between your brain and vital organs including your stomach, lungs, heart, spleen, intestines, liver and kidneys.

It’s called the vagus nerve and its vital for keeping our bodies healthy and free from disease by regulating our immune systems, controlling stress levels and reducing inflammation.

Your body’s level of stress hormones are regulated by the autonomic nervous system which has two components that counterbalance each other, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system.

The sympathetic nervous system stimulates your central nervous system when necessary. It helps us in times of stress, injury or infection and helps us handle what we perceive to be emergencies by activating our fight-or-flight response. When the sympathetic nervous system kicks in, our heart rate increases, blood pressure increases, breathing becomes rapid and shallow, sweating increases and if there is an injury or infection, the area becomes inflamed.

The parasympathetic nervous system counterbalances the sympathetic nervous system by calming and relaxing the body. It promotes rest, sleep, and drowsiness by slowing our heart rate, slowing our breathing and reducing inflammation. It prevents the immune system from overreacting and over responding.

It’s important to emphasize that the sympathetic nervous system and parasympathetic nervous system must work together and compliment one another for your immune system to work correctly. One system must counterbalance the other in order to keep your body and your health in harmony.  If the sympathetic nervous system is not kept in-check by the parasympathetic nervous system or vice versa, it can cause many types of adverse health conditions and disease.

Inflammation and Your Immune System

When a part of your body has been stressed, injured or infected, the sympathetic nervous system goes into action and triggers your body’s immune system to react instantaneously.

The first response by your immune system is to inflame the stressed,  injured or infected area to protect the rest of your body and begin the healing process. This is commonly referred to as inflammation.

We often think that inflammation is a bad thing but it’s perfectly natural and normal if it’s temporary. Inflammation is a sign the body’s immune system is in high gear trying to protect you from more damage so it can heal. During the inflammation process, blood vessels in the area of the damage or infection widen and release more immune system cells into the surrounding tissue. The inflammation process typically causes temporary redness, warmth, swelling and pain.

Once the stress, injury or infection has been addressed by your immune system and your body is adequately protected, the healing process is underway and your body can begin to relax and restore balance. This is when your parasympathetic nervous system is placed into action.

Stress caused by the injury or infection is reduced or decreased, heart and breathing rates return to normal and inflammation begins to dissipate.

However, if the parasympathetic nervous system is not working properly, heart and breathing rates can stay elevated and inflammation can stick around and become chronic which opens the door to health problems.

Symptoms of Chronic Inflammation

Common symptoms of chronic inflammation may include the following conditions (as well as many others not listed here):

  • Visible signs of premature aging (wrinkles)
  • Susceptibility to infections
  • Acid reflux
  • Cancer
  • Skin conditions
  • Arthritis
  • Bronchitis
  • Chronic pain
  • Diabetes
  • High blood pressure
  • Osteoporosis
  • Heart disease
  • Urinary tract infections

Health of Vagus Nerve and Your Central Nervous System

The vagus nerve is a critical part of your parasympathetic nervous system. As a result, it plays a major role in reducing stress, lowering elevated heart and breathing rates, preventing unnecessary long-term inflammation and resetting your immune system so it doesn’t overreact and over respond.

If the vagus nerve is not healthy and working correctly it cannot counterbalance your  sympathetic nervous system and reset your immune system which can lead to the long list of problematic health conditions associated with chronic inflammation.

Keeping your vagus nerve and your entire central nervous system healthy and free from subluxation is vital to overall health and wellness. A healthy nervous system keeps all other systems of your body functioning properly including your immune system. This helps prevent and address many types of health conditions like the ones associated with chronic inflammation.

The chiropractic care provided at Baker Chiropractic and Wellness is focused on restoring and maintaining the the overall health of the central nervous system including the vagus nerve. Our chiropractic physicians are specially trained and educated on the human body’s central nervous system. We have over 20 years of experience helping patients with a wide variety of health conditions by restoring the health of their nervous system and maintaining that health to keep all the powerful systems of their bodies optimized and functioning properly.

Learn more about our chiropractic care, your vagus nerve and your central nervous system by contacting us. Please call 513-561-2273 or schedule an appointment here on our website at any time by visiting this link: Schedule Appointment at Baker Chiropractic and Wellness