D.D. Palmer stated “Life is the expression of tone. In that sentence is the basic principle of chiropractic.” How does the nervous system play a role in postural tone? The nervous system controls and regulates all of the systems in the human body. (1) Chiropractic directly affects the nervous system and the communication between the brain and body. When subluxations are present in the spine and body, this compromises the integrity and function of the nervous system. This can lead to negative changes in our postural tone and health.

Van Pham

Van Pham

In school, we are all familiar with the 3 T’s that play a major role in subluxation and can affect the tone of our complex system. When we have unintegrated traumas, toxins, and thoughts, this is when our body suffers. The stressors we suffer today are far greater than those of our ancestors before us.

Traumas used to be just falls and natural disasters, but now trauma looks like motor vehicle accidents, poor repetitive posture, abuse, domestic violence, PTSD, or illness. When these experiences of trauma are ingrained in us, our body stays stagnant in sympathetic mode. Toxins used to be the air purity, but now toxins look like unclear air, water, foods, and metal poisoning. These toxins when ingested can cause inflammation in the system, damages DNA, and imbalances in hormones. Thoughts used to how to survive, but now thoughts look like surviving, stress from work/family/society, anxiety, depression, and expectations. Negative thoughts impact the way in which we carry our body and can look like fetal position or slouching.

It is important to understand what affects our postural tone, because the way we show up in our body is the way we show up in the world. When we do not take care of the homeostatic nature of our body, neurological dysfunction will take its toll and presents itself as dis-ease, headaches, pain, cancer, etc. In a review by Seaman & Winterstein, it is discussed how joint dysfunction in the spine can cause an influx of constant afferent input to the central nervous system. In some extreme cases, the constant firing of nociception input can lead to visceral disease. (2). This is exactly why chiropractic is so powerful! We directly impact cortical somatosensory processing and sensorimotor integration. (3) We have the ability to change how people think and how information is carried out in the body.

So what can we do about all this information? By comprehending the stressors that we must handle and how they can directly impact our health is the first step in recognizing the solutions. Everyone’s stressors look different from one another; therefore the solutions are tailored uniquely to your needs. Some things I have found work for me are getting checked and adjusted regularly, engaging in cognitive behavioral therapy, eating clean foods when possible, exercising, and meditating. All of these help me integrate my experiences and allow me to show up as my best self.


  1. Palmer DD. The Chiropractor’s Adjuster The Science, Art, and Philosophy of Chiropractic. Portland, OR: Portland Printing House Company; 1910.
  2. Seaman DR, Winterstein JF. Dysafferentation: a novel term to describe the neuropathophysiological effects of joint complex dysfunction. A look at likely mechanisms of symptom generation. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 1998;21:267–280.
  3. Haavik H, Murphy B. Cervical Spine Manipulation alters Sensorimotor Integration: A Somatosensory Evoked Potential Study. Science Direct. 2007:118(2):391-402

This article first appeared in the May 2020 issue of Lifelines, the Life West student magazine.


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