D. D. Palmer
THE NERVOUS SYSTEM
In biology, any part of the body having a special
function is an organ.
In all organic beings there is a vital principle
called nerve-force, nerve energy, nerve-impulse, or vital force.
The force of the vital and intellectual depend upon
the condition of the nervous system for the amount of their expression.
In biology, a system consists of those organs which
taken as a whole contribute toward one important complex vital-function
-- those structures which are anatomically or functionally related.
We have the human system, the whole bodily organism, the osseous s., the
muscular s., the digestive s., glandular s., the vascular s., the nervous
s. the cerebro-spinal s., the central s., the sympathetic s., the peripheral
s., the ganglionic s.
The nervous tissue contained in the cranium is known
as the encephalon or brain; it comprises the cerebrum, cerebellum, pons
and medulla oblongata.
The medulla oblongata is the upward continuation
of the spinal cord, the transition is at the lower level of the foramen
magnum. The medulla is from three-fourths to an inch long.
The first cervical nerve emerges from the vertebral canal between the occipital
bone and the posterior arch of the atlas. The hypoglossal, the twelfth
cranial nerve arises from the medulla oblongata inside the ring of the
foramen magnum. The spinal accessory portion of the vagus nerve,
the eleventh spinal nerve arises in the cervical region of the cord, sometimes
as low down as the sixth cervical nerve, including filaments or rootlets
from each cervical as it passes upward. It is the only nerve which
finds a passage way through the large oval opening in the occipital bone.
The pons Varolii lies between the medulla oblongata
and the fore and back brains. Pons means a bridge; Varolii is the
name of the person who first wrote of this portion of the brain.
The cerebellum is the posterior brain mass lying
behind the pons and medulla and beneath the posterior portion of the cerebrum.
It consists of two lateral hemispheres united by a narrow middle portion.
The cerebrum forms the largest part of the encephalon.
The two hemispheres are joined by the corpus collosum composed of nerve
fibres by which every part of the cerebral hemispheres are connected with
The spinal cord, the central nervous system, occupies
the upper two-thirds of the vertebral canal. It extends from the
foramen magnum to the lower border of the body of the first lumbar vertebra.
It does not fill the entire vertebral canal in length or breadth.
Gray says the encephalon or brain is a complex organ
in which resides the highest functions -- consciousness, ideation, judgment,
volition, and intellect -- together with the centers of special sense and
for the mechanisms of life (respiration and circulation), and the agent
of the will. It specializes the manifestations of the intellect.
Consciousness, ideation, judgment, volition and will
are of the intellect, the understanding, creations of the mind. It
specializes the manifestations of the intellect. It particularizes
the exhibitions of life, actions created by intelligence.
Feeling, sensation, the faculty of perceiving stimulus
and consciousness are senses of education, “centers of special sense,”
therefore, of the mind.
“The mechanisms of life (respiration and circulation):
I would prefer to say, respiration and circulation are two of the requisites
of life, two indispensables upon which intelligent action depends.
Respiration and circulation are not controlled by the mind, are not intellectual
faculties, their action is past our comprehension; they are under the guidance
of a superior intelligence than that of man. In which of the seven
does the functional creator exist; where is his throne from whence he rules
Gray tells us that the spinal cord is composed of
grey and white substances interlaced with minute fibrils, some of which
serve as conducting paths between the brain centers and the spinal centers,
that associating systems unite these conducting paths. He also states,
“A purely anatomical examination fails to reveal the functional relations
in the fibres.”
Through the nervous system the intellectual receives
all impressions and appreciation of the outer world. Nerve vibration
is associated with consciousness. By and through it then adapts itself
to thon’s environments.
The bodily functions control all physiological action.
By and through the sympathetic portion of the nervous system life is maintained.
Through evolution the nervous system has undergone
remarkable differentiation and specialization attaining its maximum as
a dominant ruler in the human species; however, some of the animals and
birds excel in some of the senses, for instance that of smell and direction.
Anatomists usually divide the nervous system into
two divisions, the cerebro-spinal and the sympathetic. I prefer those
of special sense and vegetative, the animal and organic. The intellectual
controls the nerves of animal life, while the spiritual intelligence runs
the nerves of organic life.
Each nerve is a cord or bundle of fibers, a sheath
or covering containing filaments, each fiber or filament being a distinct
route of intercourse of motor (mental) or sensory impulses from their origination
to their destination. Nerve fibers do not inosculate or anastomose
as do blood vessels. Read page 865, fifth paragraph, of Adjuster.
The spinal nerve just as it emerges from the intervertebral
foramen, divides into four branches. The posterior primary division
divides into an internal and external branch. The internal supplies
the bones, joints and the muscles about them with innervation; it may or
may not supply the skin overlying them.
The posterior primary division of the spinal nerve
springs from the trunk immediately outside the intervertebral foramina,
passes backward between the adjacent transverse processes. These
divide and subdivide repeatedly, while the distribution to certain areas
are more or less constant, they are very variable. No nerve, cutaneous
or muscular, has a definite prescribed area of distribution. The
meningeal or recurrent branches are very small and variable. They
re-enter the vertebral canal through the intervertebral foramen and supply
the membranes and blood vessels of the cord and the vertebral ligaments.
The posterior division of the spinal nerve furnishes sympathetic fibers
for distribution in the walls of blood vessels.
Sometimes there is an increase or a decrease in the
number of the vertebrae in the vertebral column; in such cases there is
a corresponding increase or decrease in the number of spinal nerves.
The dorsal root of the first cervical or sub-occipital nerve in rare cases
may be rudimentary or entirely absent. The first and second cervical
nerves do not pass outward from the spinal canal through intervertebral
foramina, but between the occipital bone and the posterior arch of the
atlas and the dorsal arch of the atlas and the lamina of the axis.
The thirty-first nerve is occasionally absent, there are sometimes one
or two additional rudimentary caudal pairs of minute filaments below the
About seven-tenths of the body is fluid. The
blood is about one-thirteenth of the weight of the human body.
Read for yourself in The Adjuster, at your leisure,
pages 231, 323 to 330, third paragraph on 733 (make correction on page
733, last two lines of third paragraph, read in the dorsal and cervical
from the opposite side in the lumbar -- , and 805 and 806.
In the vertebrate animals, the nervous system consists
of two divisions. One includes the brain, spinal cord, the cranial
and spinal nerves. The other division is the sympathetic nervous
system. The activities of the body are controlled by nerve centers,
by means of fibers which extend to all parts of the body, there ending
in the muscles. Those nerve fibers which originate in organs, receive
and send sensations, are called sensory. Nerves which are connected
with the central nervous system may be made up of fibers which bear messages
from sense organs, in the skin or elsewhere, to the central nervous system,
the sensory fibers, or to other fibers (the motor fibers) which carry impulses
from the central nervous system to the outside. Some nerves are made
up of both kinds of fibers, they are called mixed nerves.
The nervous system is twofold in its stimuli, that
which is somatic, from the external world, concerned in animal life, the
outward actions of animals, and that which is interested in the processes
of nutrition and reproduction, the visceral, the excretory, the alimentary
tract, the blood and lymph of the vascular system.
It is twofold in its activity; it receives stimuli
which incites incentive action, and motor responses which respond in movements.
It is twofold regarding diseases, that which is somatic,
pertaining to the body-walls, skin, muscles and skeleton, and that of the
viscera of the four cavities. Of all those organs collectively which
are of the same or similar tissue which especially contribute toward one
of the important, complex, vital functions; the nervous system is the only
one which is directly affected with disease, all others being indirectly
acted upon by their connection with the nervous system.
The cerebro-spinal and the sympathetic systems are
known as the voluntary and the involuntary. The former includes the
nerves of animal life, while the latter performs the functions of organic
life. Heat production depends upon the excitation of the nervous
system-upon the amount of molecular vibration. Respiration, circulation
and heat are essential to life. These functions are performed in
proportion to the innervating force which, if excessive or deficient, disease
or death is the result. Remember, disease is functions performed
in an abnormal amount. Heat may become so intense as to soften, necrose
nerve tissue, thereby cause a diminution of vibratory action, of which
we will learn more in our future lessons. Read page 415 of Adjuster.
I have always stated and maintained that over or
under functionating is disease, not “that disease is the result of over
or under function.” There is a vast difference between these two
statements. Let me repeat, over or under functionating, change of
structure and position of one or more organs when present constitute a
condition known as disease. Normal functionating, normal structure
and normal position of organs are always present in health. When
the organs of the body are in normal position, their structure normal,
their functions performed in normal amount, there is health.
Life is intelligent action. Absence of life
is coexistent with the separation of intelligence and material, spirit
and matter, followed by dissolution, disintegration, separation into its
component parts of the material body. The intellectual portion known
as spirit is eternal, always existed and always will. Material always
was, its form has been subject to change, as much can be said of spirit.
Delafield and Pruden in their Text-Book of Physiology,
page 413, state, “It is known that certain drugs (a drug is any substance
used as medicine, internally or externally) introduced from without may
induce fever. Exactly how these various substances act in the incitement
of fever is unknown, explain that the nervous system may play an important
role in these disturbances is indicated by the fact that more or less persistent
elevations of temperature may follow puncture or hemorrhage in the corpus
striatum or lesions of the bulb or certain other affections of the nervous
system.” Hemorrahge is caused by necrosis, softening of the vessel
walls, the result of two much tension of the nervi vasorum.
All vital action depends upon the condition of the
nervous system for expression. This includes mental, motor and sensory.
Pain is sensation of nerves because of over tension,
the swelling is really an enlargement diametrically of the nervous tissue,
counterbalanced by contraction.
There are two intelligences in man, Innate and Educated,
spirit and mind, the creator and the created. Either one can direct
(Innate the involuntary and Educated the voluntary) the functions in normal
force and amount, providing the lines (nerves of communication are normal
in their structure and qualities.
The cerebrospinal system and the sympathetic nerve
system are intimately connected, the latter is derived from the dependent
upon the former; it is especially concerned in the dissemination of innervation,
nutrition and the functionating of the vegetative organs.
The voluntary nervous system includes the twelve
pairs of cranial and the thirty-one pairs of spinal nerves, which Educated
learns to control during life. The sympathetic gangliated chains
have three pairs of cervical ganglia, ten to twelve pairs of thoracic,
four lumbar and four or five sacral, all told 21 to 24 distributing centers.
The involuntary nervous system, the organic nervous
system, the great sympathetic group, distributes its fibers to the organs
of the four cavities, the cranium, chest, abdomen and pelvis. Some
organs are supplied with nerve fibres from other sources than the sympathetic;
for instance, the heart receives fibres from the vagus, spinal accessory
There are three layers of muscles in the back.
The superficial, the deep facia and the trapezius. The deep facia
is a dense fibrous layer attached to the occipital bone, the spines of
the vertebrae, the crest of the ilium and the spine of the scapula.
The trapezius muscle is attached to the external occipital protuberance,
the spinous process of the seventh cervical and the spinous processes of
all the thoracic vertebrae. To the atlas are attached nine pairs
of muscles. To the axis are attached eleven pairs. To the remaining
vertebrae are attached thirty-five pairs and a single muscle.
One of the functions of the nervous system is sensation,
by means of which we keep in touch with our surroundings. Nerves connect
organs located in different parts of the body so they may act as a united and
harmonious whole. One important function of the body is that of will,
a provision for the creation of thought. By the way, the cultivation of correct
thinking is of great importance to a chiropractor.