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Neural Counterstrain

The Nervous system is the body's master system! It includes the brain, the spinal cord, and all the nerves down the arms and legs. The nervous system sends messages from the brain, through nerves, to muscles. When this messenger system is working well, we have great control over the quality of our muscle contractions. However, the more important role of the nervous system is to send sensory information from the body, through the nerves, back to the brain. In fact, "a typical nerve consists of almost three times more sensory fibers than motor fibers (Schleip, 2002)." This shows the importance our bodies place on sensory feedback when trying to exercise, play a sport, work, and complete everyday activities. The motor and sensory nerves make up whats called the Somatic Nervous System.

Our nervous system also includes the Autonomic Nervous System (ANS). The ANS is made up of the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic Nervous Systems. When working perfectly, our bodies teeter between being in sympathetic mode and parasympathetic mode much like two equal weight kids on a seesaw. However, when one system becomes dysfunctional, it can over power the other and we can get stuck in one mode.  


Sympathetic Nervous System: Most know this system as the "fight or flight" system. If you were being chased by a bear, this system would turn up so that your pupils would dilate, your heart would pump faster, and blood would flow to the correct muscles so you can run for as long and as fast as possible. Shifting towards sympathetic mode is a common and necessary phenomenon, but being stuck in that mode is the last place we want our bodies to be. The sympathetic nervous system directly effects all of our internal organ, arteries, and veins, and when it gets ramped up, causes our internal organs to over work and function poorly, and causes poor blood flow to and from organs, joints, muscles, and tendons which leads to poor healing. Diagnosis and presentations that suggest sympathetic dysfunction are present include: chronic pain, chronic illness, PTSD, organ disease, cancer, and vascular problems.

We can get stuck in sympathetic mode for multiple reasons... the car accident you saw coming, constant stress at work or at home, the constant bombardment of chemical stress due to pharmaceuticals. However it was created, the sympathetic nervous system is one of the most crucial systems to treat when dysfunctional and is commonly untouched by other practitioners.  

Parasympathetic Nervous System: This system is commonly referred to as the "rest and digest" system. It turns up when our bodies are sleeping, resting, relaxing, and digesting. These nerves originate in the cranium and sacrum and travel to structures like the eyes, sinuses, submandibular glands, and to all the organs in the thorax and abdomen via the Vagus Nerve.The nerves from the sacrum go to sexual organs and sections of the large intestine. Parasympathetic dysfunction can lead to symptoms and presentations like chronic fatigue, poor or over digestion, diarrhea, and respiratory issues.   

Neural Counterstrain directs its treatment at the epineurium, a tissue that surrounds every nerve and makes up approximately 50% of that nerve. Histologically, the epineurium is simply fascia, which allows us to manipulate it and affect weakness, muscle tension, pain, blood flow, organ function, and digestion.

Symptoms of neural dysfunction can include but are not limited to:

  • Pain: specifically important with severe or chronic pain

  • Poor healing

  • Vascular issues

  • Digestive issues

  • Muscle tension or tone

  • Muscle spasm

  • Limited range of motion

  • Numbness/tingling

  • Limited flexibility

  • Weakness

  • Stress/Anxiety/Depression

  • Difficulty sleeping

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, we can help! Call us now to schedule your Counterstrain evaluation.

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