Chronic Illness and Spinal Hygiene
Can chiropractic care improve your health? Part 1
Stress is a buzzword and has been for quite a while now. But it also seems to be a word that is brushed to the side. After all who doesn’t have stress in their life? The co-worker who doesn’t seem to get you and causes more headaches than a frying pan to the head. The baby who is waking up 6 times a night. The spouse who…..yeah you know!
But stress doesn’t come just from “stress.” It comes from the things we put in our body. The things we put on our body. The air that we breathe that should be a lot cleaner than it is. The thoughts that go on between our ears. And something I am very well aware of… The way our body moves. Or the lack of movement. Particularly in the spine. It’s amazing how much your spine plays a role in your health. A role that is overlooked by virtually everyone walking this planet.
Stress and the physical effects
First let’s talk about the effect stress has on your body physically. And know this. It doesn’t matter what type of stress is being thrown your way, your body will respond the same way to each type. But what happens to you when you are faced with stressors in your life whether emotional, chemical, or physical?
Let’s take something everyone can relate to. When you get startled you sense a danger whether a real threat or not and the body starts the stress response. Your sympathetic nervous system sends a message directly to your adrenal glands (that’s as deep as we will get here really). This begins a cascade of stress hormone release along with the body’s physiological response to the stressful change in order to “survive.” Epinephrine, adrenaline, among other stress hormones and of course the dreaded cortisol! Now is this a bad thing? Not if you must actually survive. For instance, let’s say instead of your friend jumping out of the shadows to give you a fright. This time it was a tiger. You are going to need all your stress hormones and physiology changes to survive. Let me summarize what happens to the body during stress. You will experience increased cortisol, catecholamines, heart rate, vasoconstriction, blood pressure, blood fat levels, change in our blood cholesterol, increased blood clotting factors. We will keep going. Increased protein degradation of muscle and connective tissue, fear, insulin resistance, increased levels of stress, anxiety, and depression, decreased short-term memory and ability to concentrate or learn new information, decreased serotonin levels, increased sensitivity to pain stimuli and emotional stimuli, decreased anabolic hormones, decreased cellular immunity, bone loss, muscle fibre changes, and decreased REM sleep. It sounds like stress is horrible! Yes and no.
The body needs to go through these changes to survive during threating situations. The problems occur when we remain in a chronic state of stress. Remember all stress acts upon the body the same way. When the body is in a chronic state of stress it needs to adapt to those hormones that are constantly coursing through the body. Now when the body is subject to these hormones constantly the body responds by breaking down and subjecting itself to chronic disease. These are often referred to as diseases of adaptation or lifestyle diseases. These are virtually preventable. So, what are these lifestyle diseases? Heart disease, stroke, cancer, diabetes. Also, we can experience depression, obesity, anxiety, fatigue, chronic pain, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia, lack of sleep, decreased sex drive, decreased fertility, indigestion, accelerated aging, ADHD etc. The best journals worldwide are stating that virtually all chronic diseases are preventable or lifestyle and immune function related.
Tips to decrease stress
So, there you have it. That is what stress and stress hormones do to your body in a very shortened version. There are very simple ways to decrease stress. It’s finding the time to manage those stresses. Visualization and meditation is a wonderful way to get rid of a lot of mental and emotional stress. Spinal mobilization has also shown to decrease the stress response in the human body. As chiropractors, we do that through the spinal adjustment.
On my next post, I will discuss how spinal mobilisation decreases the stress response.
Article written by Kyle McCandless, D.C., Wellspring Chiropractic
Kyle has been serving the health community since 2007 and has a unique ability to care for his clients. He is a chiropractor dedicated to helping his clients attain and maintain their highest potential.