The Nervous System Response: Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic

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When most people think of chiropractic care, they often think of it in terms of improving musculoskeletal health, such as decreasing back or neck pain.  While chiropractic care does address musculoskeletal issues, it can actually do so much more.  Neurologically-based chiropractic care focuses on the health of the nervous system, which is composed of both the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems.  These systems are important to how our bodies respond in certain situations.  However, unbalance between the two systems can lead to problems for our body and our health.  Chiropractic care from a Bentonville chiropractor helps keeps the central nervous system in check so that we can experience improved overall health and eliminate dysfunction within the body.

What’s the Differences Between Sympathetic and Parasympathetic?

The sympathetic part of the central nervous system is more like the green light on a traffic light.  It means it’s time to go.  This system fires up our “fight or flight” response when we feel stressed.  When the sympathetic system is activated, it can cause pupil dilation, increased heart rate, and higher blood pressure. Essentially, it puts the body in survival mode and informs that body that it’s time to fight or run.  While this response is necessary at times, too much of the sympathetic response can cause even more stress on the body and lead to an inability to focus or concentrate.  When this system doesn’t know how to shut down, it can also lead to other concerns such as anxiety, forgetfulness, sleep disturbances, and fatigue.  The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, is the exact opposite response.  This system slows the body down and allows the body to be calm and relaxed in order to repair itself.  When the parasympathetic system is activated, the body can repair cells and heal from sickness, injury, or just the stress of a typical day.  This response is vital for optimal health and function of the body.  So what can we do to ensure balance between these two systems?  Bentonville chiropractor Dr. Tom Niemela can help keep these systems in check.

Stress Puts the Body in Overdrive

Any type of stress on the body can cause the sympathetic system to go into overdrive.  It can be any type of emotional, physical, or chemical stress that affects the body.  Emotional stress may be dealing with relationships or the environment around us, while chemical stress can come from our diet and anything else we put in or on our bodies.  Physical stress can be caused by trauma or injury to the body which can lead to spinal misalignments and dysfunction within the body.  Whatever type of stress you may be experiencing, it can be causing the sympathetic system to react too often, putting additional stress on your body.

Restore Balance Through Chiropractic Care

Stress on the nerves that leads to imbalance of the nervous system can be corrected through chiropractic care.  Gentle spinal adjustments can remove nerve interference that causes the sympathetic system to take control.  Alleviate tension and stress with regular chiropractic care from Bentonville chiropractor Dr. Tom Niemela.  This will bring the body back into balance so it can begin to repair and heal itself and so you can experience rest and relief.

For balance within the body, improved immune system function, better digestion, and overall increased health and wellness, consider chiropractic care from Dr. Tom Niemela of Arbor Vitae Chiropractic.  Schedule a consultation today.




Gibbons, P.F., Gosling, C.M., Holmes, M. “Short-Term Effects of Cervical Manipulation on Edge Light Pupil Cycle Time: A Pilot Study.” Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 2000 Sep; 23(7): 465-469.

Welch, A., Boone, R. “Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Responses to Specific Diversified Adjustments to Chiropractic Vertebral Subluxations of the Cervical and Thoracic Spine.” Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 2008 Sep; 7(3): 86-93.