A Happy, Healthy Vagus Nerve

WHAT IS THE VAGUS NERVE?

The word ‘Vagus’ means ‘to wander’. So it’s a fitting name for the Vagus Nerve, which wends its way from the brainstem to the abdomen and passes through many of the body’s vital organs on its way. 

The longest nerve in the body, the Vagus Nerve is an integral component of the Parasympathetic Nervous System, which helps the body re-regulate following periods of heightened stress and anxiety. It carries anti-inflammatory signals between the brain and vital organs like the heart, gut, lungs, liver and spleen, and is a key player in the body’s in-built ‘rest and digest’ response system. 

So it’s pretty important that the lines of communication are kept open at all times.

But what happens when the Vagus Nerve’s ability to function is impaired or restricted in some way? 

HOW DO I KNOW IF MY VAGUS NERVE IS IMPAIRED?

Because the Vagus Nerve passes through so many of the vital organs, the symptoms of vagal nerve impairment are wide-ranging and varied. If you suffer from any of the following, it could indicate that your Vagus Nerve is not functioning optimally:

  • Regular heartburn
  • Digestive issues
  • Acid reflux
  • Anxiety or depression
  • Weight gain
  • Migraines

HOW CAN I HELP PROMOTE OPTIMAL FUNCTION AT HOME?

There are loads of things you can do at home to help the Vagus Nerve function optimally. Because it is central to the body’s stress-response system, lowering or limiting stress is one of the most important things you can do to keep the Vagus Nerve working at its best. Anything that helps you relax is going to have benefits in this respect. You could try:

  • Regular exercise, while maintaining a strong breathing pattern through your nose
  • Undertaking relaxation activities, such as meditation or yoga, while breathing deeply through your nose
  • Getting monthly or fortnightly massages to promote relaxation and fluid movement
  • Eating your meals in a relaxed environment

WHAT ELSE CAN I DO?

There are small things you can do daily to keep the Vagus Nerve functioning well:

  • Activate your gag reflex using your toothbrush
  • Gargle with salt water after brushing your teeth
  • Practice humming, deep in your throat
  • Breathe through your nose, especially at night
  • Laugh lots, and often

 

HOW COULD OSTEOPATHY HELP?

Here at the Good Health Centre, there are lots of things we can do that might help you find homeostasis in your body – and this is going to be key to promoting optimal vagal nerve function. We understand there’s a perfect balance to be found between the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, and our practitioners may be able to help you find that important equilibrium. If your body is in sympathetic overdrive, we will try and help you re-engage your parasympathetic nervous system, which could help the healing begin. If your parasympathetic nervous system is working too hard, we may be able to help you regulate it. 

Potential benefits include:

  • Helps manage blood pressure
  • Helps with heartburn
  • Helps limit digestive problems
  • Helps maintain body temperature
  • Helps decrease heart rate
  • Helps suppress inflammation
  • Helps boost your immune system

 

BOOK AN APPOINTMENT

We have a variety of tools to measure heart rate variability (HRV) which does give an indication to vagal tone. We use visualisation, breathing and biofeedback to improve vagal tone. This particular useful with patients with chronic pain and PTSD. Every patient requires a bespoke approach to improve resilience via accessing the autonomic nervous system.  Reducing sympathetic arousal and hyper vigilance and at the same time increasing the parasympathetic nervous system.

Ready to start your journey towards a happier Vagus Nerve? Book an appointment at the Good Health Centre today.

world spine day

World Spine Day (16th October)

With an estimated one billion people worldwide suffering from back pain, it affects all age groups, from children to the elderly. It is the biggest single cause of disability, with one in four adults estimated to suffer from back pain during their lives. Prevention is therefore key and this year’s World Spine Day will be encouraging people to take steps to be kind to their spines.

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Who gets back pain?

Anyone can have back pain, but some things that increase your risk are:

  • Back pain is more common the older you get. You may first have back pain when you are 30 to 40 years old, depending on your lifestyle.
  • Poor physical fitness. Back pain is more common in people who are not fit.
    Being overweight. A diet high in calories and fat can make you gain weight. Too much weight can stress the back and cause pain.
  • Some causes of back pain, such as ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis that affects the spine, can have a genetic component.
  • Other diseases. Some types of arthritis and cancer can cause back pain.
  • Your body may not be able to get enough nutrients to the discs in your back if you smoke. Smoker’s cough may also cause back pain. People who smoke are slow to heal, so back pain may last longer.

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What can we do to help?

Here at the Good Health Centre in Leeds, we also recognise the benefits of osteopathic treatment for a wide variety of muscular and joint pains, and also problems caused by poor posture. As well as back pain, Osteopathy can relieve a number of other health complaints, including some that may surprise you:

  • Headaches arising from problems with the neck and migraine prevention
  • Generalised aches and pains including arthritic pain
  • Aches and pains during pregnancy
  • Work-related discomfort in the back, hands and arms
  • Joint pain, including hip and knee pain from osteoarthritis
  • General, acute and chronic back ache and back pain
  • Mechanical neck pain

Osteopathy treatment involves gentle, manual techniques. Our highly experienced Leeds-based osteopaths can ease your pain and improve your mobility by using these gentle techniques.

Take a look at our website for more information on Osteopathy and what it can do for you or a loved one today.

Osteopathy Leed

National Arthritis Week

This week is National Arthritis Week UK, so let’s look a little more closely at what arthritis is and how the Good Health Centre could help you, or someone you know who’s been affected by arthritis.

Arthritis is a common condition that can cause pain and inflammation in a joint. There are over 100 different types of arthritis, however, two of the most common types are osteoarthritis (OA) and rheumatoid arthritis (RA). It can affect one joint or multiple joints and symptoms are often worse in colder weather – so if you have arthritic symptoms, have a read below and see how we can help you to keep your arthritis under control as the colder months blow in. The symptoms of arthritis usually develop over time, but they may also appear suddenly.

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Who can get arthritis?

Anyone can get arthritis!

It often starts when a person is between 40 and 50 years old, but women are three times more likely to be affected than men.

Around 10 million people will seek help from their doctor with arthritis-related conditions each year! It is estimated that 8 million will have osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis is a condition that causes the joints to become painful and stiff – it is the most common type of arthritis in the UK.

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osteopathy Leeds

Osteopathy and Arthritis

At the Good Health Centre, we offer a variety of treatments for patients with arthritis – the main one being Osteopathy. Osteopathic treatments can help to reduce pain, ease swelling and, most importantly, improve the mobility of someone affected by osteoarthritis. Treatment is not painful and can often relieve the symptoms of osteoarthritis immediately.

Manual therapy, such as Osteopathy, could relieve pain, increase flexibility and improve the quality of life for people living with Osteoarthritis.

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What is Osteopathy?

Osteopathy is a way of detecting, treating and preventing health problems by moving, stretching and massaging a person’s muscles and joints.

Osteopathy is a recognised way of improving the body’s own natural healing ability and is an established method of treating problems with muscles, ligaments, nerves and joints. Trained osteopaths recognise that much of the pain and disability we suffer stems from abnormalities in our body’s structure and functions.

At the Good Health Centre, we offer Osteopathy for both adults and children suffering from arthritis. Have a look at our website for more information on Osteopathy and what it can do for you or a loved one today.