You cannot avoid stress, it is impossible! Stress is not necessarily bad for you. Any emotion, any activity causes stress. Some say that the same stress that makes one person sick can be an invigorating experience for another.1 There is a fine balance with stress – too much stress and you can develop physical and emotional disease, while too little stress can leave your life boring and bland. Properly handled, stress can mean a life of challenge, excitement, and growth. It is often said that stress is one of the most destructive elements in life, however the way we react to stress is more important than the stress itself.2
When you confront stress, multiple chemical and nerve impulses create the General Adaptation Syndrome (G.A.S) which has three stages:
- The alarm reaction – aka “call to arms”. Messages shoot from your brain to your endocrine (hormonal) system in a “fight or flight” response. If the stress stops, you will revert to “normal”.
- If the stress continues, whether conscious or not, you enter the stage of resistance. Your body tries to adapt to the stress, and puts up barricades, so to speak. Your temperature may rise, your muscles may tighten, and you might struggle to prevail despite your best efforts. However; if the stress stops, you revert to normal.
- If the stress still continues, you may enter the stage of exhaustion, which sets up your body to fall prey to ill health.3
Back in the day, when confronted with a tiger, lion, or bear – you would run away. After running away safely, your stress levels would naturally drop. Or, your primal instincts could have kicked in, and after killing the threat and securing dinner, your stress levels would drop then as well. Or, you would become the threat’s dinner! But how does this translate into our current time and stress? You can’t run away from or kill modern day threats like issues with a spouse, boss, or landlord – you have to cope. Living in this modern day world does not provide the simple option of “fight or flight” most times, which can cause us to carry around unresolved and chronic stress much of the time. Chronic stress means you never completely relax, and because of this energy drain, your mind and body become overworked and fatigued. When your body is in this compromised state, you are more susceptible to colds, ulcers, digestive troubles, infections, high blood pressure, asthma, arthritis, premature aging, and heart disease. While a person is under stress, they are more than likely to have a weakened immune system.4 Relationships like having close bonds with friends or family can relieve stress, thereby actually helping to increase life expectancy and help fight any disease including cancer.5-6 This is also seen in the benefit of the companionship of a pet – dogs are often popular in this way because they are said to “take a bite out of stress” because they provide unconditional support. In one study, it was shown that elderly people that were pet owners visited the doctor less than their same-age counterparts.7 Prayer and meditation are also said to relieve stress. One study of 2,000 people that were practicing meditation showed that they had a major reduction in various ailment, particularly tumors and infectious diseases.8 Others have reported that journaling, or writing about stressful experiences has a powerful healing effect. Journal writers reported reduced symptoms of asthma and rheumatoid arthritis in one study.9
One of the simplest and easiest ways to reduce stress is have a chiropractic adjustment! Chiropractors are specifically and specially trained to free you from a chronic, severe, and ultimately destructive stress: the subluxation. Subluxations are quite common, and often painless distortion in your spinal structural system. This distortion affects your spine and nervous system, which causes stress to your body physically and emotionally. Most people don’t know that you may have subluxations in your body for years without knowing it. Sometimes unbeknownst to you, your energy drops, you age faster, are prone to develop diseases faster, and show a growing increase in wear and tear in your body. Chiropractic care, by removing subluxation stress from your body, can not only improve the function of your nervous system, but also promotes better adaption to stress – physical and/or psychological. No matter what, keeping your body free of subluxations will help advocate for your overall health especially in regards to stress, healing, and functionality to help promote more enjoyment in life.10-16
- Selye H. The Stress of Life. NY: McGraw-Hill. 1984:xv.
- Siegel B. Love, Medicine and Miracles. NY: Harper & Row. 1986-1970.
- Selye H. The Stress of Life. NY: McGraw-Hill. 1984:79.
- Cohen S et al. Psychological stress and susceptibility to the common cold. Engl. J Med. 1991;325:606-612.
- Cohen S, Doyle W, Skoner D. Social ties and susceptibility to the common colod. Jama. 1997;277(24):1940-1944.
- Spiegel D et al. Effect of psychosocial treatment on a survival of patients with metastatic breast cancer. The Lancet. October 14, 1989:888-891.
- Bower B. Science News. Nov. 2, 1991:285.
- Orme-Johnson D. Medical care utilization and the transcendental meditation program. Psychosomatic Medicine. 1987;49(5):493-507.
- Smyth J, Sonte A, Hurewitz A, Kaell A. Effects of writing about stressful experiences on symptom reduction in patients with asthma or rheumatoid arthritis. JAMA. 1999;281(14):1304-1309.
- Blanks RHI, Schuster TL. A retrospective assessment of network care using a survey of self-related health, wellness and quality of life. JVSR. 1997;1(4):1.
- Marino MJ, Phillippa ML. A longitudinal assessment of chiropractic care using a survey of self-related health wellness & quality of life: preliminary study. JVSR. 1999;3(2):1-9.
- Owens EF, Hoiriis KT, Burd D. Changes in general health status during upper cervical chiropractic care: PBR progress report. Chiropractic Research Journal. 1998;5(1):9-16.
- Burd D, Hoiriis KT, Owens EF: Changes in general health status during upper cervical chiropractic care: a practice-based research project update. Chiropractic Research Journal. 1999;6(2):65-70.
- Ressel O, Rudy R. Vertebral subluxation correlated with somatic, visceral and immune complaints: an analysis of 650 children under chiropractic care. JVSR. October 18, 2004;1-23.
- Boone WR, Oswald P, Holt K et al. Long term assessment of blood indices and immune panel profiling of subjects receiving chiropractic care: a pilot study. JVSR. June 7, 2006:1-11.
- Alcantara J, Ohm J, Kunz D. Treatment-related aggravations, complications and improvements attributed to chiropractic spinal manipulative therapy of pediatric patients: a practice-based survey of practitioners. Paediatric CAM research day, University of Alberta, Canada. December 11, 2007.