What is the vagus nerve?

By Dr. Tony Ebel

Difficulty sleeping. Difficulty eating. Chronic, painful constipation. Anxiety and constant emotional challenges. Debilitating seizures and horrendous side effects from the medication. 

Those are just some of the things then 17-year old Francesca struggled with as a result of a Vagus Nerve that just simply was not working right. 

Francesca presented to our clinic for care as part of our Neurological Intensive Care Program in April of 2021, and honestly her life was hanging on by a thread. Between the seizures, eating disorder, and chronic gut and immune issues that plagued her everyday life, to say she was struggling would be a massive understatement. 

Her seizures had begun all the way back in 2011, and after a decade of working with various neurologists and trying nearly every seizure medication out there, things were getting markedly worse not better. 

But everything changed for Francesca and her family that first day of our intensive care program, when we found that literally each one of her health challenges could be connected to just one singular issue – her Vagus Nerve. 

There is no more powerful and important nerve in the entire human body, capable of giving us so much health and well-being when it’s working correctly… and in turn, so many struggles and health challenges when not working correctly. 

Thankfully as you’ll see towards the end of this article, in just a few weeks time we were able to get Francesca’s Vagus Nerve back functioning and working at full force again! And with that, her life quickly and completely changed! 

Be sure to watch Francesca’s Case Study Review video below to get the full story. 

What is the Vagus Nerve?

The Vagus Nerve is one of the longest, most intricate, most important nerves in the entire body. It’s long been given the nickname “wandering nerve” because it originates from the brainstem and upper neck area, and makes its way all the way down into the thorax to regulate and control vital functions such as breathing, heart rate, and digestion. 

That’s why for a long time the Vagus Nerve was also referred to as the “rest and digest” nerve, because we’ve long since known the crucial role it plays in those functions. 

The Vagus Nerve is also known as the 10th cranial nerve, or cranial nerve X. What makes this nerve so unique is that it is primarily parasympathetic in its function, meaning it’s very important in helping our nervous system being able to slow down, relax, regulate, focus, sleep, and so forth. 

Additionally, the Vagus Nerve is almost entirely sensory in nature, meaning it functions like a big set of satellites that are constantly reporting back to the brain and central nervous system what is happening in both our internal and external environments. 

Due to its location and function, we know that the the Vagus Nerve therefore is easily injured via birth trauma and is the #1 player in a chronic condition called dysautonomia, which will be discussed more later on along with other Vagus Nerve Disorders

Why is Vagus Nerve Health Important?

But today, we now know the Vagus Nerve does so much more! The Vagus Nerve is vitally responsible for the following functions: 

  • Sensory – from the eyes, ears, throat, tongue, heart, lungs, and abdomen 
  • Motor – provides movement functions for the muscles in the neck and throat responsible for swallowing and speech 
  • Parasympathetic – responsible for digestive motility, respiration, and heart rate functioning 
  • Immune – helps regulate and reduce inflammation 
  • Social + Emotional – helps regulate our social and emotional regulation

There is not a single aspect of what the Vagus Nerve does that is not vital to a child’s health, but we really want to draw your focus to those last three (3) bullet points as they are the elements of vagus nerve function that not even most medical neurologists and traditional doctors are aware of, yet we know that those are the things that truly the vast majority of kids struggle with.

As the Vagus Nerve becomes more popular and prominent in the adult space with helping to manage our stress and mental performance with things like meditation and deep breathing, it’s much more important to recognize the role the Vagus Nerve can play in nearly every single aspect of pediatric and childhood health! 

More than 1 in 4 children in the US have a chronic health condition, and many experts consider that math to be lighter and lower than what is really happening today. 

What’s worse is that so many pediatricians continue to dismiss common childhood challenges such as colic, ear infections, and constipation as “normal” and things that kids will “grow out of” over time.  But as this “Perfect Storm” article will take you through, that is not likely the case. 

So in summary, whether your child is struggling with digestive issues, speech disorders or apraxia, immune challenges, sensory integration disorder, ADHD, anxiety, autism, and especially seizures… making sure that their Vagus Nerve is being stimulated and functioning at its optimal level is perhaps the single most important aspect of their healing plan to figure out. 

How to Care for the Vagus Nerve with Neurologically-Focused Chiropractic Care

It is an exciting time in both the healthcare and online communities, because knowledge and information about how powerful and important the Vagus Nerve is are showing up everywhere! 

But one thing that’s missing from all the incredible articles like this one from Cleveland Clinic are missing when discussing how to stimulate your Vagus Nerve with things like meditation, massage, and deep breathing… is how potent and effective a neurologically-focused chiropractic adjustment can be for the Vagus Nerve! 

Francesca’s case really shows that to be true, because like most kids and cases who ultimately make their way into a Pediatric Chiropractic office, they had already tried everything – medications, diet changes, detoxes, supplements, essential oils, talk therapy, breathing, meditation, you name it. 

So while nothing we’ll ever write and share on this platform will dismiss the amazing life-saving interventions or traditional medicine, or the incredible health benefits of things like nutrition and natural health interventions… we will continue to make the case that the real missing piece of healthcare is activating and stimulating the Vagus Nerve with neurologically-focused chiropractic adjustments. 

To really get the full understanding of the role the Vagus Nerve plays in health challenges of all sorts, watch this short Case Study + Scan Review video all about the story of Francesca mentioned above!

How to Get Your Child (or yourself) Drug-Free Help

The first step you want to take is getting your child (or yourself) booked for a set of the INSiGHT Neurological Scans shown and discussed in the Case Study Review video, and simply find out if subluxation and dysautonomia are the issue. 

These scans only take 15-30 minutes to complete, and are packed full of incredible information that you just won’t find anywhere else! 

Our trained and ready network of PX Docs utilize this incredible technology, and also use the same incredible 5-Step Clinical Process to really assess the health and function of the Vagus Nerve, and the autonomic nervous system as a whole. 

To schedule your child’s appointment, simply visit the PX Docs Directory right away and reach out to your local practice right through our website! 

Challenges Covered: Dysautonomia | Perfect Storm | Vagus Nerve


Enter your location in the search below and find a PX Doc near you!

Recommended Helpful Articles:

Chronic Cough

In an all too common story, Bryce’s mom shared this with us, “Her immune system felt...

read more