We live in such a fast paced society today that being stressed just seems normal. We are always busy and have so much input coming at us from everywhere. Stress isn’t inherently a bad thing. There are times where stress is important, such as if you have a deadline coming up for work, as stress increases our productivity levels. Stress is needed in situations where there is a threat or danger present, as it allows us to respond fast and appropriately.
Stress is also what allows us to feel excited when we do things such as ride a rollercoaster, or go on a first date. But while stress is important in some situations, long term, constant stress can be detrimental to both our physical and mental health. This is because our bodies are only designed for quick bursts, “acute”, not long term ‘chronic’ stress. While there are not always things we can do about what is causing our troubles, such as a stressful job, there are things we can do to manage our stress to make sure it doesn’t start taking a toll on our mind and body.
How can stress affect us?
Chronic stress has numerous effects on our mind and body. It can have negative effects on nearly every system in our body. Some of the effects it can have include1:
- Problems with our mental health, such as irritability, anxiety, insomnia, and depression
- Behavioural problems such as over or under eating, alcohol or drug abuse, and social withdrawal
- Increased heart rate, increased blood pressure, and increased risk of having a stroke or hearth attack
- Tensions headaches, tense muscles, and back pain
- Issues with the digestive system such as acid reflux, diarrhoea, constipation, stomached, nausea, and vomiting
- Extra blood sugar is released to help give the body extra energy, long term this can lead to increased risk of type 2 diabetes
- Weaken the immune system and slow down healing times
How can chiropractic help manage stress?
As chronic stress is such a common thing in today’s society, and quite regularly hard to avoid, people will be looking for ways to manage their stress and deal with any issues their stress may be causing. While it is impossible to completely remove stress from our lives, chiropractic care is a safe, healthy, and natural way to manage, and reduces its effects on the body, to help prevent long term damage:
- Sleep – good quality sleep is such an important factor in dealing with chronic stress, as it lets our brain slow down and our body relax and heal. Insomnia is also one of the issues that can come around because of chronic stress. Chiropractic adjustments have been shown both to help with insomnia, and with improving quality of sleep. The better sleep we can get the better we can prevent and deal with stress2.
- Muscle tension – when we are stressed, our muscles start to tense up in response. This creates a negative cycle, as when our muscle stay tense they start causing pain, which can end up causing more stress. Chiropractic care returns the normal motion to the spinal joints, which allows all the muscles in these areas to relax. This can help reduce pain levels, and reduces overall stress3.
- Blood pressure – studies have been done that show that blood pressure is reduced following chiropractic treatment. This helps to reduce stress and anxiety levels4. Decrease blood pressure and more relaxed musculature helps the body feel more calm and allows the brain to switch of the flight or flight response that is constantly on during chronic stress4, 5.
- Immune system – chronic stress weakens the immune system and slows down healing time. Because chiropractic removes interference from the nervous system it allows the brain and body to communicate better. When the brain is receiving more accurate information, it can send out the messages that can improve healing and boost immune system function6.
- Avoid unhealthy behaviors – by reducing stress levels with chiropractic care, this removes some of the temptation of dealing with stress in unhealthy ways, such as overeating or turning to alcohol or drugs. Chiropractic is a natural way of dealing with it that is safe and has little side effects.
- Pietrangelo, A., & Watson, S. (2017, June 5). The effects of stress on your body. Healthline. https://www.healthline.com/health/stress/effects-on-body#1
- Kingston, J., Raggio, C., Spencer, K., Stalaker, K., & Tuchin, P. J. (2010). A review of the literature on chiropractic and insomnia. Journal of Chiropractic Medicine, 9(3), 121-126. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jcm.2010.03.003
- Resources to Recover. (2019, March 12). Benefits of chiropractic care for anxiety and depression. Resources To Recover. https://www.rtor.org/2019/02/21/mental-health-and-chiropractic-care/
- Palmer College of Chiropractic. (2015, September 24). How can chiropractic care help alleviate stres? Palmer College of Chiropractic Blogs. https://blogs.palmer.edu/askpalmer/2015/09/24/how-to-alleviate-stress-with-chiropractic-exercises/
- Yates, R. G., Lamping, D. L., Abram, N. L., & Wright, C. (1988). Effects of chiropractic treatment on blood pressure and anxiety: a randomized, controlled trial. Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics, 11(6), 484-488.
- Slosberg, M. (2011, May 6). Immune responses to spinal manipulation. The Chiropractic Resource Organisation. https://chiro.org/research/ABSTRACTS/Immune_Responses_to_Spinal_Manipulation.shtml
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