Exploring mental and emotional load on our spine and nerve system

Mental Stress and your Spine

If you have been in our office you will have heard about the 3 stressors that cause the spine and nerve system to stop functioning at its best, they are:

  1. Past and present Physical Stressors

  2. Past and present Chemical Stressors and

  3. Past and present Mental Stressors

Today I wanted to dive deeper into the effects of mental and emotional load on the spine and nerve system.

We often think that stress as an emotion. Stress can be emotional but it is actually a physiological state that is controlled and coordinated by the autonomic nerve system.

This is the part of our nerve system that coordinates and controls all of our automatic functions such as breathing, heart rate, digestion, healing and repair along with our fight and flight response.

When our body is placed in a stressful environment whether it be a bad driver cutting you off, your boss pressuring you for a deadline, or financial pressure it does not distinguish this from being any different than a lion jumping out from behind a bush (although rationally we understand there is a difference our body does not)

Your body prepares to fight or flee and the survival responses kick in;

  1. Increasing your heart rate

  2. Increasing respiratory rate

  3. Dilating pupils

  4. Releasing stress hormones like adrenaline and cortisol

  5. Tightening muscles in the neck pulling the head forward and shoulders in

  6. Slowing digestion

  7. Slowing immune and reproductive function

This is a great and appropriate response from the body when required and if we are in danger. We are designed to function for short bursts in a fight/flight mode but it does become an issue when we start to live our life stuck in this response mode. So many of us live our lives in the fast lane with extreme pressure and demand on us mentally.

Signs your body is stuck in fight/flight mode:

  1. Trouble sleeping

  2. Digestive upsets

  3. Tight achy muscles

  4. Anxiety

  5. Hormone imbalances

Chiropractic care helps the body move towards a more balanced harmonious state where our nerve system is able to flex and flow from the fight/flight response to the rest/repair/digest/heal response

 

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Flourish Chiropractic