Stress

Your Minnesota Chiropractor is an expert when it comes to treating the effects of stress on your body.  For our purposes, we will use Merriam-Webster’s definition of stress, “a physical, chemical, or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension and may be a factor in disease causation.”  Most experts would take out the might, and assert that stress most certainly plays a factor in many diseases.  We perceive stress from three basic sources: our environment, our body and our emotions.  Stress can be harder on the body than harsh physical labor.  For this reason, we will look at how to prevent stress, and also how your local chiropractor can help offset the negative effects of stress on your body.

Stress has been proven to contribute to many diseases including:  addiction, anxiety, circulatory problems, depression, diabetes, eating disorders, fatigue, frequent headaches, frequent colds and viruses (due to a weakened immune system), gastro-intestinal upset, heart disease, high blood pressure, infertility, insomnia, obesity, and slowed healing from injury and disease to name a few.

More recently, stress has even been linked to cancer.   Stress depresses the body’s immune system, causing someone who is struggling with ongoing stress difficulty battling a major illness such as cancer.  Cancer patients are now being offered relaxation therapy, musical therapy and even pet therapy to help alleviate stress.

Americans have a fast paced lifestyle, and most people report feeling stressed on a regular basis.  It makes sense to alleviate stress as much as possible, to promote looking and feeling your best.  This article will not look at ways to avoid stress, but rather focus on how to combat the effects.  Chiropractic care offers a noninvasive, natural approach and is based on the concept that given the opportunity, the mind and body can heal itself. In relieving some of the effects of chronic stress, chiropractic care provides just such an opportunity.

Chiropractors work primarily with the spine, the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel from the brain to the rest of the body. One effect of chronic stress is prolonged muscle tension and contraction. This muscle tension may create uneven pressure on the bony structures of the body, often leading to the misalignment of the spinal column, known as subluxations in the Palmer Tradition of Chiropractic.

Chronic stress also leads to nerve irritation. The adjustments of a chiropractor release muscle tension, and that helps the body return to a more balanced, relaxed state. Adjustments also reduce spinal nerve irritation, and improve blood circulation. These changes may be enough to allow the body to begin the process of healing by convincing the brain to turn off the fight or flight response.  A healthy and balanced spine is key to effectively managing stress.

Chiropractors are also trained in nutritional and other therapies for stress. Several nutritional supplements, including B vitamins, help the body cope with stress.  Your chiropractor may also recommend relaxation techniques, discuss posture and environmental changes, and recommend an at home exercise and stretching program to help recovery from chronic stress.

A chiropractor cannot make a job less stressful, or create a quieter, calmer world.  What chiropractic treatment can do is help you develop healthy responses to stress, reducing potential physical damage.

Author:  Michelle Caron

Works Cited:  http://www.lifescript.com/soul/self/well-being/illnesses_caused_by_stress.aspx, http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/stress-symptoms/SR00008_D

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