The Vagus Nerve

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The Vagus Nerve otherwise known as Cranial Nerve 10 or the Wandering Nerve is crucial for everyone at any age.

This nerve is the longest nerve in the body – starting from the brain stem at the base of the skull and upper neck bones, travels through the neck, the thorax or chest, and into the lower stomach innervating, (which means touching controlling and reading information from those areas).

This nerve has the Ventral Vagal and Dorsal Vagal Branches. It has the control of shifting the nervous system into parasympathetic mode. You want a balance between parasympathetic and sympathetic. You don’t want a sway one way or the other as it can create a high tone individual or baby and or low tone baby. High tone babe’s have been more and more prevalent with the association with more prevalence of tongue ties by the way in the last 10 years. This is something chiropractic assists with in terms of too much tone.

The Vagus Nerve is responsible for controlling and regulating the internal organ functions associated with mood, immune response, digestion and heart rate (an automatic process).

Poor function is linked to long term health outcomes. Helping the body restore more optimal function or better function by allowing the brain and body to communicate together helps the body function better and heal better.

For every output fibre form the brain through the Vagus nerve to the body, there are nine input fibres back to the brain telling it what is happening in the gut.

Infants: The Vagus nerve is associated with learning to properly swallow, digest food with ease, and be content and happy when not eating (calming nerve).

As a chiropractor here in Edmonton at Crestwood, and Highlands I assess the full spine and cranium to look for any areas of interference, known as subluxation, that may impact communication from the brain to body and body to brain. The Vagus origin is the brainstem located in the cranium and upper neck area. Removing interference with gentle chiropractic adjustments in our littles is crucial to a great start on life to help neurons develop and synaptic connections to happen.

Remember in the last post that every second 1 million neurons are created. At the age of 2 – synaptic connections not used are sloughed off. Let’s work to make sure function is at its best, that there is no interference to allow a developing baby to integrate their primitive reflexes, grow and thrive in their neuro developmental stages. By the age of 2 a child’s brain is 80-90 % the size of an adult brain.

Did you know the Vagus nerve controls inflammatory responses in your body? Yes it does – lets get it checked – Do you have chronic health problems or chronic inflammation?

The vagus nerve help prevent inflammation, helps make memories, helps you breathe, digest, swallow, speak, helps with skin and saliva production, urine output, contols heart rate, initiates your bodies relaxation response.

Did you know that Higher Vagal Tone brings more ease into your physiology so your reaction or stress response to things is less.

Overstimulation of this nerve can also cause fainting – Vagal Syncope.

What can you do?

Tummy time, tummy time, tummy time. Hold your baby – get them out of buckets, and swings and bumbo’s so they get sensory stimulation front to back – 365 degrees, Eye contact face to face. Look into their eyes when they nurse be it by chest or bottle. Avoid technology – engage – coo with them – connect – touch their palms and feet as their grow – smile with them – read to them 5 books a day – avoid doing things that they themselves can’t not yet do as their neurology has not grown to allow them to do it – have them checked by a pediatric family chiropractor to make sure there is no interference. It is not a race – The sequence of each milestone is crucial and completing each milestone is essential for the finer motor skills such as speech later!!

Let’s do this as a community – we are here to help support – cheer on the parents and families out there. If you are an adult and are reading this – you too can get help with your Vagal tone as it is impacted throughout life through trauma’s, toxins, mental and emotional stressors and technology (wifi).

If you have a tween or teen – get them checked – it’s not about back pain – it is about supporting healthy nervous systems and spines that house the nervous system. Let’s support this generation that is struggling with so much now and beyond!

Reach out – I am here and so are so many other family pediatric doc’s as we care about you and your family.

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