Your Body on Stress

March 3, 2018

       Everybody has stressors. They come to us everyday whether it be from work, family, the air we breath, the food we eat, the products we ingest or put on our skin, even thoughts we think, the list is endless. DD Palmer, the founder of Chiropractic referred to stressors on the human body as "the three T's" or Thots, Trauma and Toxins. Mental/emotional, physical, and chemical stress in today's terms. Whether it be a bear in the woods, a broken leg, or the thought of a big due-date at work, the body responds to stress in the same predictable way. This response is regulated by the master system of the body, the Nervous System.

     The Nervous System performs many functions that we do not have to consciously think about, like breathing rate, heart rate, sweating and more, including the stress response. The Autonomic Nervous System, which can be further divided into the Sympathetic and Parasympathetic, regulates these. The Sympathetic Nervous System is in charge of the stress response, or "Fight or Flight." The Parasympathetic Nervous System controls the the opposite, or "Rest, Digest, and HEAL." Many of us live predominantly in the "Fight or Flight" mode due to the non-stop nature of our modern lives.


     Psychological stressors, musculoskeletal trauma, inadequate nutritional intake all contribute  to the Sympathetic dominance of modern life. When a body is in sympathetic dominance, the hypothalamus initiates a cascade of responses that may include increases in catecholamines, ACTH, cortisol, glucagon, ADH, growth hormone, and decreases in insulin and testosterone. These contribute to an overall INFLAMMATORY STATE, which alone can cause multiple health complaints and pain syndromes related to over/under working of internal organs/glands and their associated neurology. It also compromises the IMMUNE SYSTEM!


     How does this relate to chiropractic? Because the innate intelligence of the body makes brilliant adaptations to stress in order to continue vital functions. Lets simplify this with an analogy. The body's nervous system can relate to the electrical wiring in a house. Both systems carry information via electrical impulses on wires (spinal nerves) and both originate from a central fuse box (brain). Stressors on the body can be related to appliances or electronics in the house. If too many appliances are plugged in on the same circuit, the circuit will overload and "blow a fuse." The body does the a similar thing in response to stress via the spinal subluxation. Lets make a real-life example of this using a common scenario.


     A college student makes a habit of going out and using alcohol to have a good time. This stresses the body's main filter of toxins, the liver. For a while, the liver can handle the filtration but eventually, the toxins take their toll on the liver and continued function becomes more effort for the body than it is worth. Now the body "blows a fuse" related to that liver's wiring to the nervous system. This is the vertebral subluxation, or bony misalignment, that chiropractors identify in the spine, which interferes with proper nervous system communication and function. This neurologic interference causes dysfunction and dis-ease in the target tissues. If left uncorrected, this can progress into disease, in this example maybe alcoholic cirrhosis of the liver.


     Chiropractors detect and correct these subluxations, restoring nervous system communication and allowing the body to function and heal the way it was intended. We also educate our patients of the 3T's and how stressors affect the body and its overall ability to heal and recover. At Pascal Chiropractic, we want more than just to "replace the fuse" or adjust subluxations. We want to teach our patients to "unplug some appliances" or to handle stressors of modern living so they may take control of their own healthcare and lead a more fulfilling life.


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