Did you know that the vagus nerve is the largest nerve in the body? Your vagus nerve helps your body understand when it is safe to let your body and nervous system enter rest mode. It is therefore not surprising that when the vagus nerve is overactive, inactive or damaged, you can experience complaints such as headaches, back pain, but also anxiety and stress. In this blog, I share the complaints of a poorly functioning vagus nerve and how you can get it more balanced.
Curious about our other blogs about the vagus nerve? You can find it here.
What is the vagus nerve?
Before we delve deeper into the symptoms or complaints of the vagus nerve, it is first important to clarify what the vagus nerve actually is. The vagus nerve is also called the tenth cranial nerve or wandering nerve and runs through your entire body.
Every person has a left and right vagus nerve, both of which transmit information to the brain. The nerve originates in the brain stem and branches from there to the ears, neck, lungs and heart. It then curves around the major arteries and then runs through the trachea to the larynx. That is why the vagus nerve is also seen as the direct route from the brain to our intestines.
What is the function of the vagus nerve?
Since the vagus nerve runs through your entire body and sends signals to your brain from there, it has many functions. The vagus nerve is part of the parasympathetic part of our nervous system that can put our body in a state of rest. It also helps the body to enter a rest mode. Because the vagus nerve sends signals to the brain from various organs, it also helps with speech and swallowing, controlling the heart rate, but also modulating your sleep and wakefulness.
What signs or symptoms does a poorly functioning vagus nerve cause?
Because the vagus nerve has so many functions that keep our body vital, it is not surprising that if you have a poorly functioning vagus nerve, you experience this in your body. There are a number of complaints that may indicate an overactive, inactive or damaged vagus nerve, namely:
- Problems swallowing
- Shoulder and neck pain
- Low heart rate
- Pass out
- Chronic fatigue
- Digestive problems
- Difficulty relaxing
Of course, if you suffer from one of the above symptoms, you do not necessarily have an inactive, overactive or damaged vagus nerve. We therefore recommend that you contact your GP if you have long-term complaints.
If you suspect that your vagus nerve is out of balance, we can imagine that you are wondering what you can do to stimulate and/or calm it. In general, more rest and relaxation in your life will bring your vagus nerve back into balance. How you take care of this is of course up to you.
A nice way to soothe the vagus nerve is through a massage. We share more about this in this article. Of course, there are also various other things you can do to get rid of annoying vagus nerve symptoms. In this ebook I share some ways to relax your vagus nerve. Here you will find a nice breathing exercise to stimulate the vagus nerve.
Online yin & fascia therapy for vagus nerve that is overactive
In my online yin & fascia therapy trajectory, which is accessible to everyone, you will learn to relax the fascia, connective tissue and the vagus nerve that is overactive with yin yoga postures and massage fascia balls. This is effective for self-maintenance that you can use at any time. You can take this course in Dutch as well and at your own pace. Self-massage is also a proven effective method in recovery.
Back to nature retreat
Sometimes it is good to step away from your environment and fall into deep peace. This is possible during a Private Back to Nature Retreat in the South of France. During this retreat you will fall into deep relaxation through breathwork, yin yoga and fascia therapy. But the healing power of nature also ensures that you fully return to yourself.