The brainstem and nerve system is what I focus on at OHIO Specific Chiropractic. You might be asking yourself: “What is so special about the brainstem?” Well, this is a very unique and important area for many reasons. When the sperm enters the egg and cell production starts, the very first organ tissue that develops at that exact point is the brainstem. This is where all life starts and where the control center is housed for the trillions of cells of which humans are composed. Even before the brain and the rest of the spinal cord can develop, the brainstem must be established. Nature saw fit to develop this important area first because it is the connection area between the brain above and the spinal cord below. Without the brainstem, the brain couldn't connect with the body and the body couldn't connect with the brain. Brainstem tissue starts at the base of the skull and resides within the two top bones of your neck: the atlas and axis vertebra. We call this area “Houston Control.” Houston Control comes from the nickname of the mission control center of the famous Apollo space program to the moon. It was Houston Control’s job to organize this very intricate and complex mission and to make sure every action and function ran smoothly and precisely. That is exactly what the brainstem does for you, it controls and regulates every organ, gland, and tissue so your mission of life can run smoothly and precisely.
If severe damage is done below the brainstem, function is only lost or lessened at the level where the injury was sustained. There is a documentary film called Murderball that features a group of paraplegic athletes that compete in Paralympic rugby. Many of them have sustained spinal injuries, mostly in the mid-back to lower back region, losing the function of only lower level organs and tissues (control of leg muscles, bowels, bladder) Despite their hindrances, they perform at an elite level and are far more athletic than the average able-bodied person.
If severe damage is done above the brainstem, function is also only lost or lessened at the area where the injury was sustained. For instance, recall the 2011 Tucson shooting in which Arizona state representative Gabrielle Giffords was shot directly through the brain at point blank range. Although she suffers with dysfunctional issues dealing with motor, language, and cognitive skills, she is alive today. Damage only occurred to the nerves that were involved in the trauma.
When severe damage is done specifically to the brainstem region, it can result in instant death or loss of all function. Christopher Reeve, the actor who played Superman, became a quadriplegic after fracturing the two top bones of his neck. He became paralyzed from the neck down and lost all function. He sustained no brain trauma in the accident. Dale Earnhardt Sr., the NASCAR driver, died instantly when his atlas bone separated from its joint along with fracturing the base of his skull during a crash at the 2001 Daytona 500. He also sustained no brain trauma.
The brainstem is the switching station for all nerve tracts in the spinal cord. That is why it can effect ANY and ALL other parts of the human body. Trauma to the brainstem doesn't have to be as severe as a fracture or dislocation for damage to be done. A level of trauma to the brainstem below a fracture or dislocation is called a vertebral subluxation. The small bones of the neck only need to move millimeters out of their normal alignment for pressure to be place on the brainstem and surrounding tissues. A subluxation is what I deal with at OHIO Specific Chiropractic. A subluxation directly interferes with how your body functions overall and lowers your true health potential.