By: Dr. Scott Kuper
Most everyone is under some type of stress on a daily basis. Some stressors have a negative association to them such as a child stressing about an upcoming math test, or parents stressing over the family budget. Some stressors are positive, such as participating in a good workout, or the shock of a surprise birthday party. Stressors can be mental, emotional, physical, or any combination of the three. The way the body physiologically reacts to any type of stress, however, is essentially the same.
The body’s natural response to any form of stress includes the release of hormones including adrenaline, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. This response from the sympathetic nervous system is known as the “fight or flight” response, and biologically was designed to prepare the body to either run away from danger or fight back and overcome the challenge. This is fine if you’re being chased by a bear, or need to react quickly to get your child out of danger, but this system was originally designed to be turned on only in such extreme circumstances. In today’s world, our busy lifestyles have created a condition of chronic exposure to high levels of stress all day long.
Chronic activation of the sympathetic nervous system causes negative effects on the body, including increased blood pressure and circulating blood sugar levels, a less effective immune response, and an increased risk of heart disease and metabolic disorders such as diabetes1. Prolonged periods of increased adrenaline after a stressful day at work can cause difficulty falling and/or staying asleep, because you physiologically cannot relax like you are supposed to. If this goes on for several days or weeks, eventually you deplete all of your reserves and “burn out.” You no longer have the supplies to get your body up and going to take on the day. The result: you’re stressed out, exhausted but can’t sleep, get short tempered, forget to pick up the kids from soccer practice, and wind up getting sick- which only adds more stress!
So how do you stop this cascade? Research has proven that chiropractic adjustments, especially in the cervical spine, help to modulate the activation of the sympathetic nervous system via the vagus nerve. It also reduces pain perception at the thalamus, which decreases the negative physical stress imposed on your body. Massage therapy also helps relieve the physical manifestations of stress by reducing muscular tension, encouraging mental relaxation, and improving circulation thereby decreasing resting blood pressure. And if you can’t escape the hustle of your daily routine, nutritional supplements such as the Adrenal Health packets from Standard Process can help keep your body fueled with what it needs to keep you functioning at the high level you demand from yourself.
The next time you are feeling run down and stressed out, we hope that you think of your friends here at Body Logic Massage and Chiropractic and talk to us about the best way for you to Move Better, Feel Better, and Live Better- with less stress!!!