The sympathetic nervous system controls your body’s “fight or flight” mechanism. For instance, if you are walking along the sidewalk and see an out-of-control car coming toward you, your sympathetic nervous system will increase your heart rate, dilate your lungs, halt digestion and increase your muscle strength to help you get out of the way.
The sympathetic nervous system begins in the spinal cord, then branches out and serves specific muscles, organs and glands. The sympathetic system is part of the larger autonomic nervous system (ANS), which maintains the involuntary, unconscious actions of your body’s organs. The ANS also contains the parasympathetic nervous system, which is devoted to “rest and digest” functions of the body. In other words, when there is not a “fight or flight” (sympathetic) response needed, the parasympathetic nervous system puts on the brakes and resumes normal digestion, heart rate, secretions, breathing and so on.
Some indications of the sympathetic nervous system springing into action are:
- Increased heart rate
- Dilated pupils
- Dry mouth
- Rapid breathing
The human nervous system is extremely complex, and myriad injuries and conditions can cause the nervous system to malfunction. The spinal cord and its nerve roots, for example, can easily be impinged or pinched by common conditions such as arthritis, bulging discs or herniated discs. This impingement on the main pathways of the nervous system can cause painful, debilitating symptoms throughout the body.
Laser Spine Institute has perfected minimally invasive procedures for the spine that release trapped nerve tissue and provide patients with lasting pain relief. Contact Laser Spine Institute today to learn more about conditions affecting the nervous system, and for a free review of your MRI and CT scan.