Stress comes up almost everyday in my practice, not only in what people share with me but in what I observe in their body even if they don’t say a thing. There are three different types of stress – physical, chemical & emotional. All three types of stress affect your nervous system, but whenever I ask people which one has the greatest impact on their health, the answer is always the same: emotional stress! So it’s an important one to understand and try and find solutions for, although certainly not easy.
How does emotional stress create stress in the spine?
An emotional event or trigger happens -> Brain perceives and recognizes it -> Creates a stress response -> Creates muscle tension -> Pulls your spinal joints out of alignment -> disrupts healthy flow of signals going to and from your brain and regulating all your body.
Chronic emotional stress causes:
- chronic muscle tension
- chronic increase in cortisol and adrenalin (stress hormones)
- increased stimulation of your sympathetic nervous system
- decreased overall nervous system function
- decreased immunity
Why is emotional health important to me as a Chiropractor?
Quite simply, because I care about the wellbeing of people in my practice! Clinically though, if there is emotional strain causing stress in the body, which as noted above affects your spine, nervous system and muscles, and we don’t get to the cause and find a solution, we may be missing part of what you need to fully heal.
The heart of my clinical approach is not just responding to the symptoms that your body is creating, it’s also addressing the cause of the problem. For some people this involves changing their ergonomics or a repetitive strain caused by work or athletics. In other cases there is an underlying food intolerance causing inflammation. Most people have some type of emotional stress in their lives, and this conversation comes up consistently.
We might not be able to change some of the circumstances we face, but we can always change our perspective and how we respond. Our brain has to perceive something as stressful in order for our physiology to change, so if we don’t THINK something is stressful, it won’t affect us negatively.
Check out these blog posts with some of my top recommendations on how to change your perspective when dealing with stress so that it doesn’t affect your body negatively: