If someone were to ask you, what is the most important organ in the body, what would your answer be? Would it be the heart…the brain…the lungs…the kidneys…the liver…the eyes? What about the intestines (large or small)…the stomach or the spleen? Have you ever asked, what is the central nervous system?
Additionally, if someone were to ask you, what is the most important system in the body, what would your answer be? Would it be the digestive system…the endocrine system…the respiratory system…the urinary system? What about the circulatory system?
Well, if someone were to ask me what is the most important organ in the body, my answer would be the brain. Why? Well, because the brain controls every organ and every system in the body. Without the brain, nothing happens—Zero action! There is no organ in the body that is independent of the brain. Therefore, it’s safe to say, the brain is the most complex organ in the human body.
If someone were to ask me, out of the systems listed above, which is the most important one in the body, my answer would be…none of the above. Why? Well, because the ones listed above are the most commonly recognized ones…the ones we hear about the most…the ones we are told to protect the most.
Question: if the brain controls all the systems and organs in the body from the top of the body, the head, how does it control all the rest of the body? Well, it’s done with the system that’s not listed. The unpopular one!
So which one isn’t listed? The Central Nervous system. Without the brain, as I mentioned, there’s zero action. But without the central nervous system, the brain cannot carry out its function. So without the central nervous system there’s zero action.
What is the central nervous system
The central nervous system (CNS) comprises the brain (the popular aspect) and the spinal cord (not so popular).
It is the complicated network of nerve tissues that controls the activities of the body. The brain is the center of our thoughts, the analyst of our external environment, and the source of control over body movement.
Again, The brain is the most complex organ in the human body; the cerebral cortex (the outermost part of the brain and the largest part by volume) contains an estimated 15–33 billion neurons, each of which is connected to thousands of other neurons. Neurons ar cells inside the nervous system network that transmit data to alternative nerve cells, muscle, or gland cells.
In total, around one hundred billion neurons and one thousand billion glial (support) cells make up the human brain. That’s a lot of horse power! Our brain uses around twenty (20%) percent of our body’s total energy.
The brain is the central management module of the body and coordinates all activity from physical motion to the secretion of hormones, the creation of memories, and the sensation of emotion.
To carry out these tasks, some areas of the brain have specific roles. However, several higher functions — reasoning, problem-solving, creativity — involve different areas working together in networks.
However, the brain cannot carry out its function without the spinal cord.
What does the central nervous system do
The spinal cord runs almost the full length of the back and carries information between the brain and the body, but also carries out other tasks as well.
From the brain stem, where the spinal cord meets the brain, there are 31 spinal nerves that enter the cord. Further down, it connects with the nerves of the peripheral nervous system (PNS) that run in from the skin, muscles, and joints.
Motor instructions from the brain journey from the spine to the muscles and sensory data journey from the sensory tissues — like the skin — toward the spinal cord and finally up to the brain.
The spinal cord additionally contains circuits that manage particular reflexive responses, such as the involuntary movement your arm might make if your finger were to touch a flame. The circuits inside the spine also can generate additional complicated movements like walking. Even without input from the brain, the spinal nerves can coordinate all the muscles necessary to walk.
Most systems and organs of the body manage only one task, but the central nervous system does many jobs at the same time. It controls all voluntary movement, such as speech and walking, and involuntary movements, such as blinking and breathing as well as our heartbeats. It is additionally the core of our thoughts, perceptions, and emotions.
What is the function of the spinal cord
The spinal cord is the main road for communication between the body and also the brain. It is the Super High way of the body. When the spinal cord is wounded, the exchange of data between the brain and alternative parts of the body is disrupted.
What protects the spinal cord
The vital parts of the central nervous system are crucial for the operation of the body. Therefore, it is important for them to be protected from irreparable damage as much as possible. Now the brain is protected by the skull (another popular component), but what protects the spinal cord?
The spinal cord is protected by the spine. The spine consists of bones, discs, ligaments, and muscles. It is made of 33 bones called vertebrae. The spinal cord passes through an opening in the center (called the spinal canal) of each vertebra. Sandwiched between the vertebrae are discs that act as protective cushions, or shock absorbers for the spine. Ligaments and muscles help keep the vertebrae in the right position.
As you can see from the diagram, nature has provided ample protection for this essential part of our anatomy-the spinal cord.
But…life happens. Accidents as well as general wear and tear occur to this valuable protection which can leave the spinal cord vulnerable to damage. Trauma resulting from auto accidents and falls are the major cause of spine and spinal cord damage. Damage to the spinal cord causes serious consequences such as: paralysis, loss of sensation, severe pain, and loss of function.
Additionally, there are many potential complications related to spinal cord injury that may require specific treatment. These complications include: urinary tract infections or urinary incontinence (inability to control the flow of urine), bowel incontinence (inability to control bowel movements), depression, blood clots, pressure sores, infections in the lungs (pneumonia), muscle spasms, and chronic pain.
So how do we protect the protector? How do we protect our spines? How do we contribute to the efficient functionality of our spines? A little preventive effort could go a long way to reducing your chances of suffering from wear and tear on our spines resulting in debilitating back pain. After all, muscles, ligaments, and nerves from the spine provide support to our entire body. Just as we take preventative measures for our hearts, livers, kidneys, etc., we must do the same for our central nervous systems that these organs rely on.
Here are some things we can start:
- Exercise good posture by standing, walking, sitting, lifting and lying in positions where minimum strain is placed on supporting muscles and ligaments.
- Avoid sitting for long periods.
- Proper nutrition always plays an important role in the efficiency of the body. In my post https://universal-health-products.com/dietary-supplements-the-facts/ I explain the importance of nutrition from supplements as well as diet.
- Retain a weight that is appropriate for your height and frame.
- Participate in strength, stretch and aerobic curriculums.
- Wear proper footwear
- If you’re a smoker, stop smoking.
Last but not least, get evaluated by a professional. Things have a way of sneaking up on us and as I like to say, prevention is better than cure! It is so important to be proactive with our health instead of reactive. When it comes to our backs especially, we tend to do nothing until we’re in pain. I am guilty!
But to have your spine evaluated and maintained by a competent chiropractor can stave off problems down the road. Therefore, a good place to start would be to consider preventive chiropractic care.
If you’re already in pain, seriously consider chiropractic for finding a solution. Chances are you have a Vertebral Subluxation. This is when one or more of the vertebrae in your spine move out of alignment and create pressure on the nerves. Why does this matter? The pressure on the spinal nerves causes them to malfunction and send confused signals throughout your body. These interruptions essentially mean that a part of your body isn’t engaging at 100 percent. As a result, your body’s innate ability to heal itself is compromised.
Again, Life happens! Subluxations occur by on or more of the “Three T’s: Trauma, Toxins, and Thoughts. Get help – it will only get worse if neglected.
Besides the obvious pain reduction in the back and or neck, chiropractic care also helps to eliminate pain in other areas of the body as well. When the spine is correctly aligned, it reduces pain from top to bottom. This means that from the lower back up to the neck experiences a decline in the total pain felt.
A properly aligned spine allows the body to operate more efficiently, allowing it to heal itself in many instances.
I have started chiropractic recently and I have one regret…I didn’t start sooner!!
It behooves us to have a strong focus on our spine care as it plays a most vital role in the function of our entire body. Remember – Good health is our best asset!
Please feel free to leave any comment, question, or concern below
5 thoughts on “What is the Central Nervous System”
Thanks for this article. I’ve heard a lot about the central nervous system as it relates to weight lifting and how it’s possible to overtrain the central nervous system with weight lifting. Something I have to look out for. But I went through your checklist in the middle of the article I was glad because I’m doing each one of those things.
I definitely agree that good health is our best asset. My friend used to say health is wealth. Actually he still says it. Thank you this was a very good reminder and good information. Take care.
Hi Charles – I’m glad to know that you’re practicing what’s on the checklist. If you’re a weight lifter, and you haven’t done so already, you may want to get checked by a reputable chiropractor. This will ensure whether or not your spine is properly aligned. If a correction is needed, it’s best to have it adjusted before the pain starts. Another saying: prevention is better than cure!
Thanks for stopping by!
great article well said!
Wow, fabulous article here. I can remember being thought about the nervous system back in school and we were told it has to do with his the brain is connected to a system that feels. Today I learnt how it is connected to the spine and how we need to protect out spinal cord through good postures etc. Is the nervous system connected to accidents that affect the spinal cord where one cannot feel the legs any more??
Yes Henderson – accidents are a major cause for spinal injuries. Sometimes not only causing a loss of feeling but even paralysis. Our spines are the same as electrical cords to appliances. If the flow of power is interrupted action is hampered or even stopped.
Thanks for stopping by!