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Vagus Nerve Dysfunction Treatment in Westminster Denver Colorado


What is the vagus nerve?

       There are 12 cranial nerves in the body. They come in pairs and help link the brain with other areas of the body, such as the head, neck, and torso.

       Some send sensory information, including details about smells, sights, tastes, and sounds, to the brain. These nerves have sensory functions.

       Other cranial nerves control the movement of various muscles and the function of certain glands. These are known as motor functions.

       While some cranial nerves have either sensory or motor functions, others have both. The vagus nerve is such a nerve. The cranial nerves are classified using Roman numerals based on their location.

       The vagus nerve is also called cranial nerve X.


What does the vagus nerve affect?

     The vagus nerve also called the pneumogastric nerve, is responsible for various internal organ functions, including:


          heart rate


          cardiovascular activity

          reflex actions, such as coughing, sneezing, swallowing, and vomiting

       It plays a role in the autonomic nervous system, which controls actions people do unconsciously, such as breathing and digestion.

       It may also form a link between the gut and the brain, playing a role in what scientists call the gut-brain axis. In recent years, experts have been studying the gut-brain axis to look for links between conditions such as obesity and depression.

Vagus nerve anatomy and function

       The word “vagus” means wandering in Latin. This is a very appropriate name, as the vagus nerve is the longest cranial nerve. It runs from the brain stem to part of the colon.

       The vagus nerve sensory functions are divided into two components:

          Somatic components. These are sensations felt on the skin or in the muscles.

          Visceral components. These are sensations felt in the organs of the body.

Sensory functions of the vagus nerve include:

     providing somatic sensation information for the skin behind the ear, the external part of the ear canal, and certain parts of the throat

     supplying visceral sensation information for the larynx, esophagus, lungs, trachea, heart, and most of the digestive tract

     playing a small role in the sensation of taste near the root of the tongue

Motor functions of the vagus nerve include:

     stimulating muscles in the pharynx, larynx, and the soft palate, which is the fleshy area near the back of the roof of the mouth

     stimulating muscles in the heart, where it helps to lower resting heart rate

     stimulating involuntary contractions in the digestive tract, including the esophagus, stomach, and most of the intestines, which allow food to move through the tract

Vagus nerve testing

       To test the vagus nerve, a doctor may check the gag reflex.

        During this part of the examination, the doctor may use a soft cotton swab to tickle the back of the throat on both sides. This should cause the person to gag.

       If the person does not gag, this may be due to a problem with the vagus nerve, which could indicate a problem with the brainstem function.

       Doctors may also assess vagal nerve function when looking at cardiovascular disease, as discussed in recent research. Damage to the vagal nerve can lead to problems with the cardiovascular system.

       Measuring heart rate, blood pressure, and cardiovascular response to exercise can provide clues as to how your vagal nerve performs in conjunction with your cardiovascular system, which is known as cardiovagal tone. It can offer clues to your cardiovascular health.

Nerve damage

Damage to the vagus nerve can result in a range of symptoms because the nerve is so long and affects many areas.

Potential symptom of damage to the vagus nerve include:

     difficulty speaking

     loss or change of voice

     difficulty swallowing

     loss of the gag reflex

     low blood pressure

     slow or fast heart rate

     changes in the digestive process

     Nausea or vomiting

     Abdominal bloating or pain

     depression and anxiety in people with breathing problems or heart disease

The symptoms someone might have depend on what part of the nerve is damaged

Heart rate issues

       Vagal nerve dysfunction can cause both slow and fast heart rates depending on the type of dysfunction.

       For example, overactivity can lead to bradycardia (or slow heart rate) while disease causing insufficient activity of the vagus nerve can lead to tachycardia (fast heart rate).

       This can be further explained by management of some types of tachycardia that can include vagal nerve maneuvers in order to try to stimulate more vagal nerve activity to slow the heart rate.


Experts believe that damage to the vagus nerve may also cause a condition called gastroparesis. This condition affects the involuntary contractions of the digestive system, which prevents the stomach from properly emptying.

Symptoms of gastroparesis include:

     nausea or vomiting, especially vomiting undigested food hours after eating

     loss of appetite or feeling full shortly after starting a meal

     Acid reflux

     abdominal pain or bloating

     unexplained weight loss

     fluctuations in blood sugar

Some people develop gastroparesis after undergoing a vagotomy procedure, which removes all or part of the vagus nerve.

Vasovagal syncope

The vagus nerve stimulates certain muscles in the heart that help to slow heart rate. When it overreacts, it can cause a sudden drop in heart rate and blood pressure, resulting in fainting. This is known as vasovagal syncope.

Factors that can trigger this include pregnancy, emotional stress, and pain, but there may be no clear cause.

Alongside this type of fainting, you may experience:



     tunnel vision

     ringing in the ears

     excessive sweating

     low blood pressure

     slow or irregular heartbeat

If you experience fainting, it’s a good idea to see a doctor to rule out potential serious causes. To prevent it, a doctor may recommend drinking plenty of fluids or avoiding standing up quickly.

 Our expert providers are experienced and skilled at treating vagus nerve dysfunction and are your source for expert treatment of vagus nerve dysfunction in Westminster and Denver Colorado. Not only are we the premier treatment for spine injuries and chiropractic in Westminster and Denver Colorado, but we also specialize in many other advanced treatment techniques such as shockwave, cold laser, graston technique, KT Taping, activator, instrument aided spinal alignments, drop table, toggle, in house rehab services, and on site digital xrays. We are your Premier destination for vagus nerve dysfunction treatment in Westminster Colorado and Denver Colorado Chiropractor.