How Chiropractic Can Reduce Stress and Make Life Better
By Dr. Molly Casey
Stress affects everyone, no one can escape it. Though many know that prolonged stress is not good for their health, few know how and why. In my experience, when individuals learn the ways in which stress affects them, they are a bit more inclined to work more diligently at decreasing their stress.
The body has a natural response to combat the negative stress we encounter in life. Imagine you’re leisurely walking down the street after dinner and you encounter a stray dog that is angry. It starts running toward you. Naturally and quickly, your body processes your options. You can stay and fight the dog, you can turn and run the other way, or in some cases you may be in such shock you simply stay there paralyzed with no action. This processing instigates a number of different actions and reactions within your body to support your survival. Hormones, such as adrenaline, are released, and blood is shunted away from certain organs to support other muscles and processes that require the extra power.
Let’s say you chose to run from the dog and made it back to your house safely. In a healthy individual, some time passes and the stress response dwindles; the body returns to a normal state of calm, which it resides in for the majority of your existence. The body’s ability to function normally in the stress response and return to the calm state it is meant to be in is an important part of health and warding off disease and sickness. Stress exacerbates all sickness and plays a much larger role in other conditions, including those that are very common.
It’s a common theme in society today to have extended periods of low-grade stress. Does any of this resonate with you? You are keeping long hours at work with moderate to high stress on the job? You get too little sleep. Your diet doesn’t contain enough whole, clean foods that support health. Your schedule outside of work is full with obligations and you have very little free time. If you exercise it’s minimal and without consistency.
This picture keeps the body in a low grade state of chronic stress response. So the body never returns to the normal calm resting state. This low grade chronic stress eats away at your health.
Stress and Your Health
Studies have found that continued chronic stress is related to most chronic diseases, including:
- Heart disease
- Depression and anxiety
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Alzheimer’s disease
- Accelerated aging
- Premature death
You can read more about what Mayo Clinic says about prolonged stress and disease.
Chiropractic and Stress Response
Improper spinal joint range of motion negatively affects the ability of the nervous system to function optimally; it ultimately affects your body’s stress response. If you’re under chronic stress and your spine isn’t moving properly, your body won’t likely be able to process that stress to the maximum potential. In addition to lifestyle changes, an optimally functioning nervous system will support your body’s ability to be in the stress response at appropriate times and transition out of it, as well.
The chiropractic adjustment restores range of motion to your spinal joints, ultimately supporting your body’s ability to move in and out of the proper stress response as needed. A restricted range of joint motion and its effects on the nervous system can contribute to the body’s decreased health.
Stress is a part of life. You may not think you have high levels of stress, but you may be surprised how some lower level chronic stress affects your health and life as much, if not more, than extreme cases. It’s wise to look at your daily life to see how you can support your body’s ability to lower stress. You might find that chiropractic is a good choice in that journey.
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