Among chronic conditions suffered by Americans, one of the single most common is chronic stress. Sourced from a variety of potential areas, stress can impact everyone in different ways, but is known to be a specific contributor to major diseases or conditions ranging from diabetes and depression to heart disease and many others.
At Foundation Chiropractic, our chiropractic services include everything from auto accident and resulting back pain treatment to areas like general neck pain relief and, as you may have guessed, assistance with chronic stress issues. Today’s blog will focus on the systems in the body that regulate stress, some of the symptoms that often showcase chronic stress, and how chiropractic care benefits many of those who suffer from chronic stress conditions.
Autonomic Nervous System
To understand the body’s response to chronic stress, one must first be made aware of the autonomic portion of the body’s nervous system. This is a broad area that’s always active, control all automatic functions in your body – you may have heard of specific systems like the sympathetic, parasympathetic and enteric nervous systems, and each of these are actually part of the overall automatic nervous system.
In particular, the sympathetic and parasympathetic systems are worth understanding when it comes to stress. The body’s “fight or flight” response comes from the sympathetic nervous system, which will use major stressors to pull bodily functions away from other areas like digestion or rest to protect the body. The parasympathetic system, on the other hand, manages rest and repair for the body, including digestion, saliva, tears and many other areas.
Chronic Stress Response and Symptoms
When the body undergoes stress, both physical and mental, the sympathetic nervous system is active at a slightly higher rate than normal. Your life is not in danger, so it’s not in full fight or flight mode, but it’s high enough to trigger certain symptoms, including:
- Muscle tension and repeated contraction, often subconsciously
- Unnatural posture, body position or movements based on muscle or joint tightness
- Dysfunction in nerves
- Mental strain and general irritability
Such symptoms can be brought on by a variety of potential causes, from working long hours to going through a tough period in life. For others, they may be caused by physical issues like poor sleep habits, dehydration, bad daily posture or improper diet.
How Chiropractic Care Benefits Chronic Stress
Chiropractic adjustments are known to have several positive impacts on the nervous system and its ability to communicate throughout the body. The spine plays a major role here, allowing stimulation for certain parts of the nervous system that help deal with overactive systems and other parasympathetic functions. Adjustments made allow the nervous system to function optimally, promoting the proper rest functions to allow the parasympathetic system to calm you down if your sympathetic system is overactive and causing your chronic stress.
For more on how chiropractic care benefits chronic stress sufferers, or to learn about any of our back pain relief or whiplash treatment services, speak to the staff at Foundation Chiropractic today.