In the short term, being under stress often works wonderfully, helping you gear up for a tough test or handle the complexities of daily living. In most cases, the hormonal response that the body releases during stressful times does its job and then simmers down. When your adrenal glands continue producing cortisol and other hormones that you no longer need, chronic stress can result, often leading to physical symptoms.
Chronic stress can manifest itself as
What happens when you’re stressed?
Having your body’s stress response at a high level contributes to many pathological processes, including:
Pain and stress often have significant overlap. Both disrupt your body’s homeostasis, adversely affect cognitive function, disrupt well-being, and so much more.
Did you know spinal abnormalities are an often-overlooked physical manifestation of chronic stress? When people are stressed, their body posture changes, muscles tense, and breathing patterns change. These stress-related physical changes can shift your vertebral alignment, contributing to spinal abnormalities.
Doctors of Chiropractic know that poor spinal health affects physical health and increases stress levels. That stress subsequently affects spinal health because every bodily function interconnects with your spine.
Think about the cumulative daily habits that can create havoc on your spine:
All these things take a toll on your spine. Regular care from your doctor of chiropractic is one good way to help keep these abnormalities at bay.
Remember, your spine is the anchor of your body. Whatever interferes with your spine — in this case, chronic stress — also interferes with your body’s natural function.
Abnormalities in the alignment of the spine – slips, misalignments, restrictions – can interfere with the natural function of the human body. Chiropractors know the nervous system controls all organs of the body, so interference will naturally cause dysfunction, often beyond the spine.
Most sources of interference can be grouped into one of three stress categories:
1. Physical Stress
Often, the most dramatic impact of chronic stress is physical. Chronic stress increases chronic inflammation, which is considered a driver for numerous diseases. That pro-inflammatory response can affect discs, ligaments, and tendons around your spine. Poor sleep can exacerbate stress and contribute to metabolic disorders like obesity and diabetes.
Injuries, physically demanding work, a sedentary lifestyle, excessive strenuous exercise, and poor breathing can also block oxygenation and nutrients.
Anytime your body is mistreated, misused, or maladjusted, it may become a physical stressor and interfere with the natural processes that should lead to optimal health.
2. Chemical Stress
More subtle are the countless environmental toxins we are often exposed to daily. Cleaning products, cosmetics, medications, and often our food, can bombard our bodies with toxins that have an immediate and cumulative impact. As a result, our lungs, skin, and digestive tract stay on high alert, creating low-grade stress on the body.
3. Emotional Stress
Stress can also dramatically affect mental and emotional health. The results can be mood disturbances, anxiety, depression, and irritability. Stress can have an impact on memory, concentration, and much more.
Managing stress is crucial to maintaining health and happiness. While external actions matter, your body’s ability to respond and adapt to the environment is what really matters.
Chiropractic care can help identify those interferences and ways to reduce or removes them. Chiropractic’s goal is to harness the body’s innate powers to heal on its own.
It’s also good to know that chiropractors focus on personalized patient care and will provide an individualized protocol that best suits you. For example, chiropractors can design a dietary and lifestyle protocol that includes the right foods, exercise, relaxation techniques, and other strategies.
You can’t eliminate stress. Still, you can find strategies to reduce its impact on your spine and overall health. Chiropractic care provides an excellent complementary approach to working with your healthcare practitioner and incorporating appropriate stress-management strategies.
Cleveland University-Kansas City (CUKC), founded in 1922, is a private, nonprofit, chiropractic and health sciences university in Overland Park, Kansas. CUKC is a recognized leader in health promotion. The CUKC on-campus Chiropractic Health Center is open to the public and treats patients from Kansas City’s 15-county metro area. Our goal is to provide chiropractic care and solutions for a better, more productive life for our patients.