Why do we feel pain and how can chiropractic help?

Your sensory nervous system is what lets you feel pain. Simply put, Chiropractic helps by normalizing function and changing the way your brain processes the pain message.


Your Sensory Nervous System

Your sensory nervous system includes your neurons or nerve cells. Neurons are specialized cells that conduct electrical impulses.  Neurons have a cell body, axons and dendrites.  Axons are nerve fibers which are message sending projections. Dendrites (free nerve endings) are sensory receptors or message receiving projections.   For example, sensory receptors occur in specialized organs such as the eyes, ears, nose, and mouth, back as well as internal organs.


The Message of Pain

The types of sensations that are generally  relayed are: 1) pain and temperature 2) touch 3) proprioception (your sense of self movement and position)  and vibration. 


First, dendrites or free nerve endings are the primary receptors for pain and temperature. The signal is then carried to the nerve cell body in the dorsal root ganglion (sensory cell bodies ) of the spinal nerve.


Second, fibers leaving the dorsal root ganglion enter the spinal cord by accessing Lissauer’s tract. Tracts are neural pathways that are located in the brain and spinal cord. Lissauer’s tract is in the white matter tract in the spinal cordAxons in Lissauer’s tract run up and down for one or two spinal cord segments before they penetrate the gray matter of the spinal cord.  So Gray matter largely functions to receive information and regulate outgoing information, as it contains the cell bodies of neurons. White matter, which is largely composed of axons, serves to transmit signals to other regions of the brain, spinal cord, and body.


Third, the pain message synapses (connects) in the substantia gelatinosa /ventral white commissure which is in the center of the spinal cord.  Subsequently, the message ascends (goes up) on the contralateral (opposite) side of the spinothalamic tract in the spinal cord. 


Fourth, it ascends to your thalamus in the brain. Finally, it continues to the somatic sensory area of your cortex (brain).



The Somatic Sensory Area of the Brain

The somatic sensory region of the brain is responsible for receiving and processing sensory information from across the body, such as touch, temperature, and pain.  Once it has reached this part of your brain you are aware of neck, back or limb pain.

In summary, the brain and spinal cord receive messages/impulses from your sensory nerves. Then the brain sends out patterns of signals to the muscles controlling your arms, legs, and spinal movements in response. For example, if you touch a hot stove, the nerves in your skin shoot a message of pain to your brain. The brain then sends a message back telling the muscles in your hand to pull away. This all happens in an instant.


Chronic Pain

Pain that goes away once the injury has healed and is short-term is acute pain. However, sometimes, those nociceptors (pain receptors) continue to fire.  Usually this is due to either a condition that’s causing damage to your tissues or other conditions like arthritis, neuropathy or fibromyalgia. Long-term pain is chronic pain.

For example, if your joint is injured or diseased it causes signals of pain to go back and forth to the brain with little pause.   Furthermore, chronic pain can change the way your brain processes pain, laying down different pain pathways. In other words, patients who suffer from chronic pain may actually have their brains altered by the constant pain to be more sensitive to pain and feel it much more intensely than most.  Chronic pain usually requires a long-term treatment plan. The regulation of the pain experience has to be changed and new pathways need to be laid down.   Chiropractic adjustments to the spine and extremities help in opening up and normalizing the neural pathways.


Theories about Chiropractic Care for Pain Relief

Firstly, of course chiropractic care influences the biomechanical movement patterns of the spine and extremities (limbs) and improves proprioception. It is also becoming clear that chiropractors impact brain function consistently. Additionally, studies are showing chiropractic directly impacts the so called abnormal ‘pain pathways’ in the brain and thus has an effect on a person’s perception of pain.

Secondly, chiropractic adjustments stimulate the dysfunctional tissues around your joints.  This stimulation regulates central processing and alters the perception of pain cortically (at the brain) in a ‘top-down’ manner or both..

Thirdly, a majority of the studies have shown neuroplastic effects following a chiropractic treatment.  Neural plasticity or brain plasticity, is a process that involves adaptive structural and functional changes to the brain. Moreover, the changes seen in the studies were in somatosensory (sensory system concerned with perception of touch, pressure, pain, temperature) processing, motor control and functional performance.

Fourthly, alternatively, chiropractic spinal adjustments may also alter pain perception via the neuroendocrine (nerve and hormonal) system.


Why Do We Feel Pain and How Can Chiropractic Help?

Pain is not always bad. Pain alerts you to move your hand off the hot stove.  However, chronic pain can be debilitating which is why so many people turn to pain killers to manage the pain. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

Chiropractic is for people who want to move, perform better in life and be pain free.   Chiropractic is an all-natural, drug free, nonsurgical option to help people who suffer with musculoskeletal pain, both acute and chronic.

Meiri Chiropractic serving West Palm Beach, Jupiter, North Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens offers chiropractic treatment for acute and chronic pain. Do you want to be pain free? Call 561-253-8984 today to schedule an appointment.



Seeing a chiropractor can be a necessary part of a healthy lifestyle. A chiropractic adjustment can alleviate pain and improve function which drastically improves your quality of life. Perhaps there is something you are not doing in life due to your pain? If you feel better and your body is in balance you are more likely to choose better food and activities. Moreover, chronic pain can lead to addiction to pain medications which may have many side effects, one being weight gain. And as stated above, if you are out of pain you’re more likely to exercise. Also, your stress level will decrease with an adjustment.  So with the stress down, you are less likely to binge on sugary foods. Read on about chiropractic in West Palm Beach and Weight Loss.

What causes weight gain?

Firstly, the most common cause of weight gain is an increase in caloric intake or a decrease in energy expenditure.  Secondly, changes in weight are common within a few pounds and generally reflect fluid retention and loss. Thirdly, cyclic fluctuations can occur commonly in women in relation to menstruation.

Fourthly, about 10% of obese patients have an underlying neurologic, endocrine, or genetic cause. So hypothyroidism may account for small increases in weight due to a slowed metabolic rate. Fifthly, familial obesity and low resting metabolic rates are uncommon. So the good news is, you or your loved one can do something about gaining weight.


Being obese carries some increased risk in several areas of health 

Mortality rates are higher for obese patients compared with normal-weight individuals. The risk of death was higher from all causes including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and other diseases if you are obese such as:

-3 to 10 times more likely to develop adult-onset diabetes (insulin resistance increases with weight gain).

-Higher incidence of cardiovascular disease, hypertension, dyslipidemia (imbalance of lipids), and stroke.

-More likely to have sleep apnea or hypersomnolence syndrome (medical conditions in which you repeatedly feel excessively tired during the day called excessive daytime sleepiness) or sleep longer than usual at night. It is different from feeling tired due to lack of or interrupted sleep at night. Hypersomnolence carries with it the risk of arrhythmias, hypoxemia (oxygen levels in the blood are low), or pulmonary hypertension (high blood pressure effecting lungs).

-More likely to have degenerative joint disease if you are obese, especially in the hips and knees. It is also a risk factor for low back pain.

-Increased risk for cholelithiasis (reduced bile flow), thromboembolism (blood clot), and varicose veins.


Weight loss

Indeed there are many centers that specialize in weight loss. These centers do not focus on diet alone, but address issues of mental attitude, motivation, and exercise. Quick fixes with diet drinks or fad diets are not effective. Statistically, most people who diet eventually gain back weight in about a year or two.

Combining a regimen of decreased caloric intake with a couple of hours of physical activity each week will result in weight loss. You and your partner or friend can accomplish regular exercise such as brisk walking. This reduces body weight and body fat in overweight and postmenopausal women. More importantly, you will be healthier.



In a study of over 73,000 women ages 50 to 79, those who walked or were engaged in vigorous exercise 2.5 hours a week reduced the risk for cardiovascular events by about 30%. Next, researchers in the Health Professionals Follow-Up Study assessed 44,000 men over 12 years for exercise activity and levels of activity. The findings were men with the greatest activity had a 30% decreased risk over sedentary males for cardiovascular risk.


Weight Gain in Women

Weight gain in women has been associated with a decrease in physical activity and increased levels of pain. So pain may act as a deterrent to exercise.  Sadly, weight loss has been shown to decrease body pain.

Ultimately, the solution to permanent weight loss is total management of a sensible exercise routine coupled with a sensible diet.



Some Possible Weight loss Diets

The following diets are good because they are more of a “lifestyle change” instead of a “quick fix”.

South beach diet:

A MD-developed program that has three phases. The first phase is two weeks long and focuses on normal-sized helpings of lean meats (eg., chicken, turkey, fish, and shellfish) and vegetables. Carbohydrates are restricted based on their glycemic index, so that the first two weeks eliminates alcohol, fruit, bread, rice, potatoes, pasta, baked goods, sugar,and pastries. Wine, fruits,and whole grains are phased in during the later two phases. Although considered a low-carb, low-fat diet, it is more about “good carbs” versus no carbs based on their glycemic index. The south beach diet has several cook books out even for the holidays and special occasions!


Weight watchers

Weight loss is based on a point system for calorie restriction. Foods can be chosen within the point system restrictions. Prepackaged foods are available. Generally, a healthy diet approach. This diet is a very low caloric diet (800- 1200 calories) based approach. There is also an emphasis on weekly support meetings that encourage healthy lifestyle choices and make use of weekly weight loss and associated peer pressure/support.  Some patients have mentioned meeting a friend at these meetings!



A low-fat diet, the Pritikin diet focuses on unprocessed fruits and vegetables, lean animal foods,and non-fat dairy products. Calorie intake is based on “calorie density,”which is the amount of calories per pound, with a restriction to foods that contain 400 calories or less per pound. A generally healthy diet.


Meiri Chiropractic in West Palm Beach and Weight Loss

Overall, it’s best to think of visits to the chiropractor as one part of an overall healthy lifestyle. If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ll have to incorporate other parts of that healthy lifestyle.  For instance, a balanced diet and regular exercise is crucial. Get out of pain fast and start moving with chiropractic care.  Get healthier!  Don’t you think you deserve it? Call 561-253-8984 today to make an appointment or to find out more about Chiropractic in West Palm Beach and Weight Loss.




Along with a healthy lifestyle and regular chiropractic care, you can keep your stress level down.  Chiropractic care and spinal manipulation regulate the autonomic nervous system at the peripheral level.  And this regulation projects to your central nervous system. In particular, it may activate the parasympathetic system to counterbalance the activity of the sympathetic system.  So your vagus nerve will be functioning at its optimum. Keep reading to find out How Chiropractic Regulates Your Autonomic Nervous System and Your Vagus Nerve to Decrease Your Stress.


Your Nervous System

Firstly, your nervous system has a central nervous system and a peripheral nervous system. Secondly,  the central nervous system is made up of the brain and spinal cord.  Thirdly, the peripheral nervous system is made up of nerves that branch off from the spinal cord and extend to all parts of the body. Fourthly, your nervous system transmits signals between the brain and the rest of the body. Lastly, your nervous system’s activity controls the ability to move, breathe, see, think, and all functions to live.


Your autonomic nervous system

Your autonomic nervous system is a component of the peripheral nervous system that regulates involuntary physiologic processes.  This includes heart rate, blood pressure, respiration, digestion, and sexual arousal. There are three anatomically distinct divisions: Sympathetic, parasympathetic, and enteric.


Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS)

Activation of the sympathetic nervous system leads to the “fight or flight” response.  This response leads to a state of overall increased activity. Your blood pressure and heart rate will increase because your body is getting ready to physically react. Moreover, Glycogenolysis (release of glucose) occurs. This happens because you would require extra energy (glucose) to “fight or flight”.  In contrast, gastrointestinal peristalsis (part of digestion) ceases.

Your sympathetic nervous system innervates nearly every living tissue in your body. The origin of the sympathetic nervous system is found within the thoracic (mid) and lumbar (lower) segments of the spinal cord also known as the thoracolumbar division (T1 to L2).


Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)

In the opposite way, your parasympathetic nervous system promotes the “rest and digest” processes. Your heart rate and blood pressure lower, gastrointestinal peristalsis/digestion restarts, etc. The PNS is significantly smaller than the SNS.  It innervates only the head, viscera (organs), and external genitalia.  Notably, the PNS is vacant in much of the musculoskeletal system and skin.  

The parasympathetic system originates from cranial nerves III, VII, IX, and X as well as sacral levels S2–4. While the sympathetic chain synapses closer to the spinal cord, the parasympathetic synapses at the target organ. A synapse is a junction between two nerve cells, consisting of a minute gap across which impulses (electrical signal traveling along the axon of a nerve cell) pass.


The Enteric Nervous System

The enteric nervous system (ENS), also known as the intrinsic nervous system, controls the gastrointestinal tract. It contains complete reflex neural circuits that detect the physiological condition of the gastrointestinal tract.  Next it integrates information about the state of the gastrointestinal tract, and provides outputs to control gut movement, fluid exchange between the gut and its lumen, and local blood flow. 

It is the only part of the peripheral nervous system that contains extensive neural circuits.  Your ENS is capable of functioning independently of the remainder of the nervous system. Because of the extent of autonomy, the ENS has been called a second brain. Of course, the ENS has extensive, two-way, connections with the central nervous system (CNS). Similarly, the ENS works along with the CNS to control the digestive system for your body’s physiological demands.


The Vagus Nerve

The vagus nerve, cranial nerve X (CN 10), makes up about 75% of the PNS and provides parasympathetic input to most of the thoracic and abdominal viscera, with the sacral parasympathetic fibers innervating the descending and sigmoid colon and rectum. The vagus nerve arises from four nuclei (clusters of brain cells) in the brainstem: the dorsal motor nucleus, the solitary tract nucleus, the spinal trigeminal nucleus, the nucleus ambiguous.


Your vagus nerve is the longest and most complex of the cranial nerves.

The vagus nerve runs from the brain through the face and thorax to the abdomen. It is a mixed nerve. The vagus nerve has sensory ganglia (masses of nerve tissue that transmit sensory impulses) innervate the skin in the concha (middle external) of the ear. So the vagus also gives off cardiac, esophageal, and pulmonary branches. In the abdomen the vagus innervates the greater part of the digestive tract and other abdominal viscera.

Indeed, the vagus nerve has the most extensive distribution of all the cranial nerves. For instance, its pharyngeal and laryngeal branches transmit motor impulses to the pharynx (throat) and larynx (voice box). Secondly, its cardiac branches act to slow the rate of heartbeat. Thirdly, its bronchial branch acts to constrict the bronchi. Fourthly, its esophageal branches control involuntary muscles in the esophagus, stomach, gallbladder, pancreas, and small intestine, stimulating peristalsis and gastrointestinal secretions.


Dr. Natalie Meiri


Why Chiropractic Adjustments Can Correct Autonomic nervous system Dysfunction

Chiropractic Subluxations (Misalignments) in your spine can cause neurodysfunction.  It can potentially cause direct mechanical irritation of your autonomic nervous system.  This model is based on the anatomic closeness and vulnerability of the posterior chain ganglion (masses of nerve tissue) between T1 and L2 (thoracic level 1 to lumbar level 2) to the posterior (further back) chest wall and costovertebral joints (joints that connect the ribs to the spinal vertebral column). This is part of your sympathetic chain which is located bilaterally (both sides) to your spine. The sympathetic chain extends from the base of the skull to the coccyx.

In conclusion, altered spinal and costovertebral mechanics are hypothesized to irritate the sympathetic ganglia.  In turn, this induces segmental sympathetic “hypertonia” (increased tone). The target organs within the segmental distribution are then theoretically affected. The outcome is the organs have dysfunction in autonomic regulation and function as a result of altered sympathetic function. 


Why Chiropractic Adjustments Can Correct Autonomic Dysfunction: Parasympathetic Nervous System (PNS)

In contrast to the sympathetic chain, the parasympathetic system, with its origins in the brain, brainstem, and sacral segments of the spinal cord, does not have anatomic proximity to the spinal joints. Models of mechanically induced dysfunction of the parasympathetic system have dysfunction in cranial (head), cervical (neck), and pelvic (pelvis) mechanics as potential sources of entrapment or tethering of the parasympathetic fibers. Altered cervical, cranial, or cranio-sacral mechanics are likely to induce traction of dural attachments and the cranial nerves as they exit through the dura (membane surrounding brain and spinal cord)  and skull foramina (opening in skull).

The chiropractic treatment goal in mechanically induced autonomic dysfunction is to identify the sites of joint dysfunction and apply appropriate manual therapy to balance tension/misalignments.


How Chiropractic Care Regulates Your Autonomic Nervous System and your Vagus Nerve and Decreases Your Stress  

In conclusion, chiropractors focus on the evaluation and treatment of neuromusculoskeletal (NMS)-based disorders.  However, chiropractors also help treat the multiple potential causes of ill health including chronic stress. The chiropractor holistically views the human being as a dynamic, integrated, and complex living being who has an innate capacity for self-healing. Successfully reduce your stress and its consequences with natural chiropractic care!


Are you ready to decrease your stress? Call your chiropractor serving West Palm Beach, Jupiter, North Palm Beach, and Palm Beach Gardens at 561-253-8984.