To be stressed means to be in a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
Stress Affects the Body, Mood, & Behavior
BODY: headaches, muscle tension, chest pain, fatigue, sleeping problems, and widespread global pain to name a few
MOOD: anxiety, restlessness, change in sex drive, feeling overwhelmed, sadness or depression
BEHAVIOR: over or under eating, drug or alcohol abuse, social withdrawal, and exercising less often
Affects of Long Term Stress
Hans Selye first described something known as "General Adaptation Syndrome" which is a predictable way the body responds to stress. He broke it down in three stages.
STAGE 1: Alarm
The body acts as if in immediate danger. Messages of distress reach the hypothalamus, which signals the production of glucocorticoids, which are hormones. The adrenal glands then produce cortisol and adrenaline to help the body to react to the perceived threat.
STAGE 2: Resistance
The body sustains this level of high-alert as long as the stressful situation continues. This unfortunately can last for weeks or even months if the stressful situation never changes.
STAGE 3: Exhaustion
The point at which the body can no longer maintain that level of vigilance and burns out, resulting in sickness, extreme fatigue, and sometimes autoimmune dysfunction.
Stress on the Nervous System
Due to the delicate nature of nerve tissue, it is susceptible to both physical stress and chemical stress. When subluxation occurs, caused by a lack of proper motion of a spinal motor unit, excess fluid builds up in the area, which can place both physical pressure or excitatory chemical stimulation on the tissue. Sustained pressure or stimulation of any nerve eventually results in the exhaustion of the tissue and subsequent dysfunction of the organ controlled by the exhausted nerve tissue.
Removal of Stress on the Nervous System
Stress management is important for people suffering from subluxation. The most important action they can take is to remove subluxation through chiropractic adjustments so their body can begin to finally adapt to the stress, and stop feeding the cycle of stress hormones and eventual exhaustion. For some people, the chiropractic adjustment may be enough to reduce total stress levels, for others, behavioral changes and emotional therapy may be beneficial to call emotional causes of stress.
Stress has effects on every tissue of the body, especially when cortisol is in the blood stream for extended periods of time. Cortisol is known as the "stress hormone" as it is released in times of struggle to prolong survival at the cost of the health of the person. Removing excitatory stimulation to the adrenal glands through specific chiropractic adjusting can aid in lowering stress and cortisol levels in the blood.