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Daily Archives: April 5, 2013

The Longitudinal Neurologic Systems

By |April 5, 2013|Chiropractic Education, Clinical Decision-making, Diagnosis, Education, Evaluation & Management, Neurology|

The Longitudinal Neurologic Systems

The Chiro.Org Blog

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 3 from RC’s best-selling book:

“Basic Principles of Chiropractic Neuroscience”

These materials are provided as a service to our profession. There is no charge for individuals to copy and file these materials. However, they cannot be sold or used in any group or commercial venture without written permission from ACAPress.

Chapter 3: The Longitudinal Neurologic Systems

This chapter succinctly describes the basic structure and function of the six major longitudinal systems; viz, the sensory, motor, visceral, vascular, consciousness, and cerebrospinal fluid systems.

As we begin this chapter, it might be well for the reader to subjectively grasp the significance of the motor and sensory systems as far as possible. One exercise in this is to imagine that you had become unconscious and someone has placed you in a remote dark empty cellar, far beyond any source of environmental sound. The first thing you realize is that you are a total sensory and motor paralytic from the neck caudad. You are unable to move even a fingertip because your motor system is not functioning. Because there is no feeling, you do not know whether you are recumbent or tied in a chair. Your vision is normal, but there is no light. Your hearing is normal, but there is no sound. Your taste buds are functional, but there is nothing to eat or drink. Your olfactory organs are functional, but there are no detectable odors. There is little left except thought and memory.

After a time in this predicament, thoughts undoubtedly arise such as, “I wish I had really looked at the beauty of the world when I had a chance. I wish I had listened to the music of the masters and even the birds in my backyard when I had a chance. I gulped down so many delicious meals. I had a beautiful garden, but I rarely took time to appreciate its design and fragrance. I even failed to take time to appreciate the texture of my own clothes. I was in such a hurry to go nowhere that was more important. I missed so much.”


The human nervous system is a marvel in organizing and adapting to internal and external environmental changes:

(1) The receptors and afferent neurons of the visceral and somatic input systems are necessary to detect internal and external environmental changes.

(2) The visceral efferent neurons and the muscles of the motor output system must be stimulated if action is to be taken.

(3) The integrative system serves as intermediary stations via a complex arrangement of interneurons whose synapses control impulse strength and signal direction from the sensory system to the motor system.