Health & Wellness

Impacts of Compromised Vagus Nerve & What to Do About It

If you don’t know what the vagus nerve is, don’t fret. It’s not common knowledge, which is ironic considering that this nerve is responsible for some of the most important functions of the body. It is one of the longest nerves in the body and regulates involuntary processes like breathing, digestion, and heart rate. So it’s no question that you need to know about this nerve; the impacts of a compromised vagus nerve, and what to do about it. Read along!

Impacts of Compromised Vagus Nerve

As important as it is, you can only predict what goes wrong when the vagus nerve is affected. Let’s take a look at the impacts of a compromised vagus nerve:

  1. Problems in Digestion: Vagus nerve helps control a major digestive process called peristalsis. This is where muscles contract to move the food along the tract and release enzymes. When the vagus nerve is compromised, issues like bloating, constipation, gut inflammation problems, and gastroparesis can occur.
  2. Heart Problems: We know that the vagus nerve controls heart rate, so if the nerve is impacted, it can cause issues like slow and fast heart rates. None of which is good for the body.
  3. Breathing Problems: Like the heart, problems in the vagus nerve will give rise to irregular breathing patterns. You may experience shortness of breath, asthma, and other pulmonary problems.
  4. Autonomic Dysfunction: Autonomic functions like sweating, temperature, and blood pressure are also controlled by the vagus nerve, so any problems there mean inconsistencies in all those major functions.
  5. Nerve Problems: The vagus nerve connects the brain to various parts of the body, so you can imagine the brain taking a hit when the nerve is compromised. Problems like speech difficulty, voice changes, memory retention issues, and even depression and anxiety are commonplace when the vagus nerve is affected.
  6. Anxiety and Mood Disorders: Vagus nerve runs along the parasympathetic nervous system, which controls relaxation responses. When compromised, anxiety, depression, or other disorders are exacerbated.

What Are The Pressure Points To Stimulate Vagus Nerve?

The ear, neck, stomach, and feet are the ultimate pressure points to massage if you want to stimulate the vagus nerve.

What to Do About It

If you think there’s something wrong with your vagus nerve, you better address it right away. Treatment depends on how severe your symptoms are and if you have other underlying conditions,

  1. Medication: Medicines are your first bet to treat any specific issues about the vagus nerve.
  2. Physical Therapy: Some exercises will help stimulate the vagus nerve and improve the functions associated with it.
  3. Vagus Nerve Stimulation (VNS): When initial treatment isn’t favoring well, VNS is considered. A device or a vagal tracker is implanted to stimulate the nerve electronically.
  4. Relaxation Methods: Practicing techniques like deep breathing, meditation, and also yoga can activate the parasympathetic system and stimulate the vagus nerve.
  5. Underlying Conditions: If there are underlying or undiagnosed conditions that aggravate vagus nerve issues, you better address that first and then tend to your vagus nerve problems.

What Side To Sleep On For Vagus Nerve Stimulation?

Sleeping on your right side will help you stimulate your vagus nerve.

Other Things To Strengthen Your Vagus Nerve

If you want to get a heads up on having a strong vagus nerve so you don’t encounter problems later on, you can do these things to make your vagus nerve stronger,

  • Deep breathing techniques and alternate nostril breathing help a lot
  • Meditation (long and short form)
  • Cold compresses on the face, nape of your neck, and back
  • Spend time with your pets
  • Exercise
  • Get some sunshine
  • Listen to calming music
  • Spend time in nature
  • Get deep tissue massages
  • Improve your diet with foods that are nutrient-rich
  • Take probiotics or eat foods that are rich in probiotics
  • Move your body, whether it’s going for walks, running, or even dancing!

Conclusion

I hope this encourages you to take a better look at your vagus nerve needs and acknowledge its importance, in case you haven’t already! What’s the takeaway you ask? Well, it is that the vagus nerve is super important, and tending to make it stronger and improve its functions, will only benefit you in the long run. So the next time you notice any symptoms that are brow-raising, check back here and take charge of your vagus nerve before it’s too late!

FAQs

1. Why Is It Called The Vagus Nerve?

Ans: The name ‘vagus’ is derived from Latin which means wandering, which is fitting because the nerve pretty much wanders around the body connecting to some major organs.

2. Can The Vagus Nerve Repair Itself?

Ans: Yes, but not in the way that you might think. Repairing can cause speech problems, inconsistent heart rate, swallowing problems, and gastroparesis.

3. How Can You Test Vagus Nerve At Home?

Ans: Testing the vagus nerve is easier than you would think. Let’s tell you how you can do it,

  • Lie on your back on a flat surface
  • Interlace fingers and place them behind the head, at the base of the skull
  • Look to the right until you swallow, sigh, or yawn. Then once you do, repeat it on the other side
  • Don’t force the reaction, let it come about organically

4. Can Singing or Humming Heal The Vagus Nerve?

Ans: Yes! As surprised as you may be, the vagus nerve is connected to the vocal cords and muscles on the back of the throat. Singing or humming indirectly activates the vagus nerve, while making you feel relaxed and reducing stress levels. So whether or not you’ve got the vocals, sing, or hum away!

5. What Foods Are Beneficial For The Vagus Nerve?

Ans: Foods that are abundant in tryptophan are good for the vagus nerve. Tryptophan-rich foods are spinach, bananas, poultry, fish, kidney beans, potatoes, and eggs.

Health2Wellness

We are nutritionist, health writer's, and food bloggers. Check it out our latest health & wellness articles on fitness, diet, and healthy living.

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