Structure Determines Function

Strong FoundationI remember seeing the article’s title written on the chalk board during my first anatomy class growing up.  My teacher went on to explain how the structure of the heart is perfect for its function.  The top two chambers of the heart, called atria, are so positioned because they collect blood from the body and with the assistance of gravity and atrial contraction, they push the blood down into the lower chambers called the ventricles.  The ventricles are the power lifters of the heart, thick and muscular.  They are robust because they have to push blood distances far from its relatively central position.  As one can see, the structure of the heart is essential for it to perform its task, which is to provide blood to the entire body.  Anything that affects the structure in return affects the function and can cause health issues like heart murmurs or even worse, heart attacks.

The Spine’s Role

The same can be said about the spinal column as well.  The spine’s main role is to protect the central nervous system, specifically the spinal cord, while providing mobility and support.  This is an imperative task because the central nervous system is the master control system.  It is analogous to electrical wiring and provides a two-way conduit for communicating information from the body’s cells to the brain while also delivering instructions from the brain back to the body’s cells.  Even the tips of the toes are in constant communication with the brain.

Everyone has seen what happens when a wire is clipped or disfigured in any household item.  It quits working, or doesn’t work the way it was designed to.  The same thing can occur within the spinal column by virtue of its anatomy.  Structural maladaptation of the spine can transmit pathological force to the central nervous system, altering the function of the body’s electrical wiring.  A couple examples of symptoms related to this can be numbness in the hands and feet, or shooting pain down the shoulders and legs.  What is often forgotten though, is that these symptoms are just a physical manifestation of a bigger problem which is obstructed function of the nerve tissue of the central nervous system.  Concomitant with the pain or numbness is impeded transmission of information via the nerves, and therefore potentially altered function of organs such as the heart, lungs, skeletal muscle, skin, etc.

All hope is not lost though, many professions deal with this issue including, but not limited to, surgeons, physical therapists, and chiropractors.  Each has a different method of achieving correction ranging from more invasive methods of surgeons to the non-invasive methods of chiropractors, particularly those focusing on structural correction.  The level of correction needed may depend on the extent of spinal maladaptation.

Just like the heart needs thick, muscular ventricles to pump blood to the body, your spine needs to be within a normal range for ideal function of the central nervous system. When the electrical wires of the body are obstructed, the whole body can be affected.  Science continues to evolve, but one thing appears to remain constant – structure determines function.

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