Sometimes it feels like we spend our days wading through stress, and that’s before we even reach our workplace door. By the time we do, we have already ushered the stressed-out kids to school, kissed our stressed-out spouse good-bye, then made our way through streets and roads that resound with the rat-a-tat-tat of jackhammers, revving motorcycles, cars blasting bass beats and exhaling pollution.
Progress may have given us helpful machines that increase our mobility and our productivity but they come with a byproduct – physical stress in the form of sound and air pollution. As if this is not enough, there is the entangling internet which puts us smack dab in the middle of what seems like an increasing number of troubles and tragedies occurring around the world. Add all these together, and is it any wonder that our assaulted senses implode on a physical and emotional level, binding us up in stress?
The word stress originated in the engineering world where it referred to the harmful effect of physical force on mechanical structures. An early twentieth-century Harvard physiologist, Walter Cannon, was the first to apply the term to the body, using it in the context of fight or flight, and the continuous harm our bodies and emotions absorb when they must continually respond to stress of one kind or another. Modern medicine has determined that stress lies at the bottom of many of our ills, ranging from disorders like cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, infertility, and high blood pressure to organ dysfunction, sleep disorders, poor nutrition, and a slowed response to physical injury. As a result, our Portland chiropractor is seeing a growing procession of stress-ravaged patients.
The most noticeable product of constant stress is the buildup of tension we feel in our contracted muscles, especially those of our backs. These tense muscles put uneven pressure on the bony structures, or vertebrae, of our spine, and with time, push them out of position. Since the nervous system travels through the spinal cord which the spinal column protects and provides a pathway, any subluxation, the term for a misaligned vertebra, throws off nerve impulses which travel through it, carrying messages back and forth between the brain and body organs.
Adjustments a chiropractor uses to release muscle tension help restore the body to a more relaxed and balanced state, and his spinal manipulations reduce irritation suffered by spinal nerves. These alterations in many cases are what the body needs to be able to turn off its constant state of flight or fight. Having training in nutrition and relaxation techniques, your chiropractor can also advise you on supplements that help you cope with stress and recommend postural changes and relaxation techniques.
A chiropractor cannot make your stresses go away, but (s)he can help with your response to it. Call Laurelhurst Chiropractic at 503-234-4288 and come meet your Portland chiropractors.
How do you deal with stress?