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How does the central nervous system communicate with the body?

Dr. William B. Salt, MD
Gastroenterologist

The central nervous system (CNS) is composed of the brain and the spinal cord. The central nervous system communicates with the rest of the body by sending messages from the brain through the nerves that branch off of your spine. You are able to move your body, get out of bed, drive to work, play tennis, and so on, when your mind's intention to move is translated by the brain into neurochemicals and electrical impulses. The chemical and electrical impulses, through contractions of your skeletal muscles, result in the movement of your body.

In addition to simple muscular activity, your CNS plays a complex role in the orchestration of the mind-body-spirit connection by way of its connection with the chemical messenger system (CMS) and the autonomic nervous system (ANS). This complex interaction is called the brain neuromatrix.

Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

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Irritable Bowel Syndrome & the MindBodySpirit Connection: 7 Steps for Living a Healthy Life with a Functional Bowel Disorder, Crohn's Disease, or Colitis (Mind-Body-Spirit Connection Series.)

Fast Facts on IBS: One in five people suffers from the frustrating symptoms of Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS). There is no simple answer--no pill, potion, or quick fix--that will cure IBS. But help...

The central nervous system is made up of the brain and the spinal cord. The brain communicates with the rest of the body through the spinal cord, which runs from the base of the brain all the way down the back. The spinal cord is made up of lots of nerves, and these nerves branch out into more nerves that travel to every part of the body. Nerves carry lightning-fast electrical messages up and down the spinal cord. Messages travel from the brain into the spinal cord and out to the body's nerves to tell the body what to do. Messages to the brain tell it what's happening with the rest of the body.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.