Emotional, chemical and physical stressors on the body cause damage. Stress affects the lives of nearly HALF of our population and the impact on the body can lead to long-term problems, including spinal misalignment. Stress contributes to modern diseases that some experts estimate it accounts for half the nation’s healthcare-related expenses!*
So what do we do? We’ve all heard about mindfulness, meditation, gratitude apps and all the things we can do for our mind to reduce that stress response, but did you know that your adjustments help too? In order to tell you how they help, we must first explain how stress affects our body and the systems involved (I promise to make it short, thanks to the concise words from our friends at Palmer College).
How Stress Affects the Body
Regardless of the cause, stress initiates a fight-or-flight response that affects nearly every part of the body. The brain rouses the sympathetic (fight or flight) nervous system, causing the heart rate, blood volume and blood pressure to increase. This diverts blood away from the digestive system and limbs. The adrenal glands also issue a cocktail of chemicals, including adrenaline, epinephrine and norepinephrine, and cortisol which over time can wreak havoc on a person’s health.
Persistent tension can also cause muscles to contract and the spine to become locked in an abnormal position, interfering with the nervous system’s proper functioning. This can impair the body’s immune response and slow healing.
How Chiropractic Care can Help
Each time you receive a specific cervical chiropractic adjustment, your para-sympathetic nervous system is triggered via your vagus nerve (this nerve exits the brain stem right at the very top of your neck). We talked about the sympathetic nervous system and explained what fight or flight does to our bodies – think of the parasympathetic nervous system as doing the opposite. Your heart rate and respiration slows, blood pressure is reduced and the stress chemicals cease production. Not only do chiropractic adjustments release muscle tension, soothe irritated spinal nerves and improve circulation, they also trigger the brain to relax and de-stress! Amazing! Here’s some research.