Reflex control of the spine and posture

Reflex control of the spine and posture: a review of the literature from a chiropractic perspective. Journal of Chiropractic and Osteopathy, 2015

This paper is a review of the literature on the interactions of postural reflexes and how they influence the balance of the body from a chiropractic perspective. Chiropractic was founded on the idea that the nervous system controls and regulates all of the systems of the body, so if the nervous system’s ability to function is interrupted then the systems of the body start to lose function. Most of the literature in chiropractic discusses this direct nervous system, brain to body, connection to health. The objective of this paper is to define how posture plays an important role in maintaining the health of the body via direct reflexive control systems that rarely get talked about in the chiropractic profession. This set of direct postural reflexes control the alignment of the body in the earth’s gravity environment all day long and are constantly running in the background. What chiropractors tend to find is that when the posture goes into an abnormal state with one shoulder higher than the other, head tilt to one side, and hips rotated and higher than another with a functional short leg the physiology of the human body is greatly affected. Once this abnormal posture sets in, the nervous system breaks down and dysfunction begins to show up in the body. This is what Upper Cervical chiropractors work to fix. If you are noticing that your posture is taking a turn for the worst an initial evaluation with an upper cervical chiropractor will be able to tell you if you are a good candidate for care. You can call to set up an initial evaluation here.

9.8 m/sec^2, the force of gravity, is a constant force down upon the human body from the day we are born until we leave the earth. This resistance is pivotal to the growth and development of the human frame. We develop spinal curve in the womb; as we start to grow our spines take on a C shaped curve. Then when we are born we start to develop a curve in the cervical spine when we lift and hold our heads up, then we develop our lumbar curve when we learn to crawl and walk. These curves and the shape of the human spine gives structure to our bodies to resist gravity but that’s only half the story. Our nervous system has to then hold our structure up in gravity by constantly having checks and balances that tell us how to move and how to react to a dynamic environment to maintain a constant postural state and erect posture. These checks and balances include three major systems: the Vestibular (or inner ear) system, the Visual system, and the Mechanoreceoptive system in the; muscles, ligaments, tendons, and facet joints. These systems also talk to each other through the Vestibulo-ocular, vestibulo-cervical, occulo-cervical, and cervico-collic reflexes. All of these checks and balances are constantly sending afferent information to the brain about where your head is in space, how your head movement has changed the position of your trunk and how your trunk movement has changed the position of the head. What’s really fascinating is that they all work independently of each other but they also all need each other to keep the body truly balanced in a dynamic, gravity environment. So when someone is struggling with a multitude of chronic health issues whether it is a digestive issue or an issue with Migraines they could have a similar origin in the postural control center of the body. Getting your upper cervical spine checked by an Upper Cervical Chiropractor is the first step to correcting posture. Call us today.

Lastly the Upper Cervical Spine is the most dense area of postural reflexive control of the whole system. The first reason is that the vestibulocular, and spinocerebellar tracts of nerves in the spinal cord have direct connections to the upper cervical spine so when it is out of place it can affect the whole body’s posture. The second reason is that the upper Cervical spine has the the largest density of proprioceptors in the spine; meaning the largest amount of tiny gps muscle receptors that tell the brain how the body is balanced above the neck and below. If your Upper Cervical Spine is out of alignment, it could be shifting more than just bones. It could be setting up negative postural reflex patterns that wear and tear on your body’s joints, and your nervous system’s ability to communicate between the brain and the body. Don’t hesitate to call your local Upper Cervical Chiropractor if you are noticing that you are begin to develop poor posture and your spine seems out of alignment. Call us today for a thorough neurologic exam, and chiropractic assessment to get your posture back on track and your health on point. 603.380.9184