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Why the Brain Stem is So Important

Updated: Feb 7

Do you know what your brain stem’s basic function is, or what purpose it serves for your body? The brain stem is a small but very instrumental part of the brain that sits right at the top of your neck. It carries messages through your nerves from your brain to your body and from your body back to your brain acting as a bridge between the higher levels of your brain and your spinal cord.

Your brain stem can be thought of as the conductor for the complex and beautiful symphony that is your body, and in today’s article, we’re going to discuss why the brain stem is so important.

What Is the Brain Stem?

The brain stem is the lower part of the brain that connects the rest of the brain to the spinal cord. (A part of the central nervous system in the spinal column). It is one of the most vital components of the human body. The brain stem plays an important role in the brain’s core functions such as consciousness, awareness, and movement. It is responsible for regulating most of the body’s essential and automatic functions including; breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure, and swallowing.

But, that’s not all it does, the brain stem also controls eye movements and facial expressions as well as coordinating movement for your eyes, jaw, face, throat, tongue, neck, pharynx, larynx, and head. It also supplies us with a sense of taste, equilibrium, and hearing, and it relays information to and from the brain to the rest of the body. So, hopefully, at this point, you are beginning to see just how essential your brain stem is, and how detrimental an injury to this part of the brain can be.

What are the Parts of the Brain Stem?

The brain stem is composed of three sections in descending order: the midbrain, pons, and medulla oblongata.

The Brain Stem

The Midbrain (mesencephalon)

This is the topmost part of the brainstem. It is crucial for regulating eye movements.

Pons (metencephalon)

The pons is the middle portion of the brainstem. The pons is responsible for coordinating facial movements, hearing, and balance.

Medulla Oblongata (metencephalon)

This is the bottom part of the brainstem. It helps to regulate your breathing, heartbeat, blood pressure and swallowing.

Your brain stem also contains your reticular activating system (RAS). The RAS is a network of neurons (cells that carry electrical signals and chemicals through your brain) that control your sleep and wake cycles among other things. The Connection Between Your Health and Your Brain Stem

I’m sure that by now, you can imagine that any type of injury to the brain stem could be devastating. Because of the importance of this small portion of the nervous system, even the tiniest misalignment in the upper neck could have profound effects.

And, injury to the brain stem caused by trauma, tumors, strokes, illness, or infections could be devastating, if not fatal. Maybe you know someone who had a stroke that affected the brainstem. If not fatal, it may have severely affected that person’s vision or speech, causing speech disorders. It could also have resulted in balance issues, abnormal consciousness, swallowing disorders, respiratory disturbance, and pain sensations to name a few.

How Upper Cervical Care Can Help

Upper Cervical specialists like Dr. Tim Dugas, are trained to locate and correct nerve interference in the upper cervical spine. This interference can present as a misalignment and affect the nerve communication between the brain stem and the spinal cord.

By working precisely with the first two vertebrae of the upper cervical spine, the atlas, and the axis where the lowest part of the brainstem is housed, Upper Cervical Care can help the brain stem to function at its best.

The Key Takeaway

Now that you know how vital the brain stem is to your body, the key thing to remember is that keeping your brain stem free from any type of interference is critical for your overall health and wellness. If you have been experiencing any chronic issues, suffer from headaches, or have sustained any form of head or neck trauma from an injury, fall, or accident it’s vital to take the time to have your Upper Cervical Spine and brain stem evaluated.

Contact us today by dropping by our office at 1800 E 3rd Ave #108, in Durango, giving us a call at 970 – 259 – 6803, or clicking the link below to schedule a free consultation. Be sure to follow us on Facebook and Instagram to keep up with our latest news, and look for our next article to learn about the role the brainstem plays in your immune health.


Notice of Disclaimer: We are doctors of upper cervical chiropractic, but we are NOT necessarily YOUR doctors. All content and information on this website are for informational and educational purposes only, do not constitute medical advice, and reading or interacting with this site does not establish any form of the patient-doctor relationship. Although we strive to provide accurate information, the information presented here is not intended as a substitute for any kind of professional advice and you should not rely solely on this information. Always consult a professional in your particular area of need before making medical decisions.

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