We would all like to thank Dr. Richard C. Schafer, DC, PhD, FICC for his lifetime commitment to the profession. In the future we will continue to add materials from RC’s copyrighted books for your use.
This is Chapter 13 from RC’s best-selling book:
“Clinical Chiropractic: Upper Body Complaints”
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Chapter 13: Endocrine Imbalance
The nervous and endocrine systems work hand in hand. The nervous system is design to operate body functions when rapid response is necessary. For long-term duty, the endocrines take over and simulate neural activity. These two systems can be compared to an athlete who sprints in a 100-yard dash and another who runs a marathon. They have two different roles but are not entirely independent in either role. They are integrated, synergistic, and facilitating.
Sympathetic stimulation increases the secretion of the adrenals, pancreas (including islets), pineal gland, and thyroid and parathyroids. The parasympathetics generally have a reverse or unknown effect. See Table 16.18.
The highly integrated system of ductless glands in the body produces internal secretions (hormones) that discharge into circulating blood or lymph to affect remote tissues. Some of these glands also produce external secretions. The adrenals, isles of Langerhans of the pancreas, thyroid, parathyroid, pituitary (hypophysis) ovaries, and testes are true endocrine glands. The thymus and pineal body have not been shown to produce hormones.
CNS Endocrine Function
Research of recent years has shown that the brain and spinal cord also secrete many specific and nonspecific hormone-like substances into blood or lymph. Brain endorphins and enkephalins and spinal cord dynorphins and enkephalins are typical examples. Many other similar substances are likely to be discovered as investigation continues. The subtle functions of the nervous system are pioneer fields of study.
The endocrine system acts similar to a chemical nervous system. Like the nervous system, self-contained positive and negative feedback mechanisms (essentially hypothalamic, pituitary, or peripheral) are crucial to proper operation and integration of body functions.
Among the physiologic processes influenced by hormones are resistance to disease; rate of systemic metabolism; rate of metabolism of specific substances; rate of growth, development, and repair processes; rate of development and function of the reproductive organs, primary and secondary sexual characteristics, and degree of libido; and the secretory activity of other endocrine glands. Hormonal processes also play an important role in the development and function of the CNS, personality formation, and how the body reacts to stress. Thus, hormones may have a specific effect on a specific organ or tissue or produce a wide systemic effect on the entire body.
General Causes of Endocrine Imbalance
Endocrine dysfunction may result from inadequate secretion or hypersecretion. Activity is under the control of the nervous system, certain circulating chemical influences, and other hormones. There is barely any pathologic process having a neurologic component that does not involve to some degree parts of the endocrine system. Because of the important role the endocrines have in maintaining homeostasis, the effects of disease, neoplasm, stress, and maladaptation can be widespread. The extent that the imbalance will have on body function depends on the severity and duration of the disturbance.
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