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How Does The Vagus Nerve Show Up In Kids

The Vagus Nerve has become increasingly popular of late, it seems everyone is talking about this incredible nerve.

It is amazing it is getting so much attention, as it is one of about 7 trillion nerves in the human body.

I guess it must be pretty important?

So lets explore a little bit more about the vagus nerve.

It is the 10th cranial nerve, and travels from the brain down to through the heart, lungs and digestive organs. Its main job is to feed sensory information from our organs back to the central nervous system, so that an appropriate motor response can be generated.
Essentially it is the vagus nerve that helps with our ability to digest our food, regulate our emotions, and block out external stimuli so that we can rest, sleep and heal and it also regulates our immune system.

When the vagus nerve is turned up the effect is it helps with rest, sleep, digestion, emotional regulation and immune function. When it is dampened it puts us in a ‘fight or flight’ response, and keeps us vigilant and focused. When it is working optimally it will switch between these two states according to what is necessary for the us to thrive.

Unfortunately, all too often it will be in a switched down state, leaving us in a stressed state. This shows up in our kids when they are tantruming, have poor emotional regulation, are poor sleepers, struggle with digestion, have busy brains and are unable to attend, or focus, and have lowered immune health.

We see so many infants present with digestive, immune, emotional regulation and focus challenges. All to often when we use our Insight Scans, we see a nervous system which is under stress, and a system which is in ‘fight or flight’.

We know that when the nervous system comes back into balance, these children thrive.

The scans are a wonderful tool to monitor this progress. We love the heart rate variability scan in particular, as this measures the balance between sympathetic and parasympathetic activity. When we are in a state of ‘fight or flight’ we are operating predominantly with our vagus nerve down regulated. As the nerve system comes back into balance, this is shown on the scan.

There are many reasons why the vagus tone may be low

One way in which we know we can regulate optimal vagus nerve tone is through chiropractic.

When there is subluxation of the upper cervical spine, this tends to down regulate the vagus function and tone.

Subluxations of the upper cervical spine can occur due to inability of the nervous system to adapt to various stressors. Stressors can be grouped into emotional or mental, chemical or physical.

If you had a stressful pregnancy or delivery, had to use forceps or a vacuum, or had a C-section, that can impact and turn down the vagus nerve immediately during the birth process. Likewise falls, and injuries impact the nervous system also.

Chemical overload through a poor diet or medication use, can also influence the nervous system.

Emotional stressors experienced by our children when the nervous system is unable to adapt appropriately can result in sublxuation.

What we need for optimal health in our children is the ability to be able to adapt to stressors whether they be physical, chemical or emotional appropriately at the time. However, all too often the ability to adapt may not be possible due to nature or enormity of that stressor at the time.

The chiropractic adjustment helps to restore that proper nervous system functioning allowing the child to thrive.

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