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Navigating the Stress of Life With Chiropractic

Updated: Jan 31

The Landscape of Health in the United States


In today's day and age, chronic health conditions are running rampant across the country. In fact, chronic health conditions make up 7 out of the top 8 most common causes of death in the United States. The United States spends more on healthcare than any other nation but we have the highest number of people with one or more chronic health conditions. WHY IS THAT? How can it be that one of the most powerful countries in the world cannot effectively care for the health of its constituents?


There are a plethora of factors that contribute to chronic health conditions and I want to get one thing straight first -- I am in no way denying the fact that there is a genetic presence in these conditions. HOWEVER, I am denying the statement that genetics play the only role in the development of chronic health problems. We have to look at the food that is being promoted and stocked on the shelves -- additives, processed ingredients, added sugars, preservatives, food dyes. The quality of food that we have access to is horrible and the Standard American Diet is being exposed by the quality of health it has produced in the United States -- we have the highest rate of obesity in the world.


We also need to look at the fact that we have all taken on a sedentary lifestyle that is amplified by a lack of exercise. Exercise is crucial in maintaining a healthy weight, a healthy heart, healthy digestive system, strong immune system, and, even more importantly, mitigating stress! Stress is going to be a focal point in many of these blogs.





Stress: The Silent Killer


Everyone experiences stress and everyone is far too familiar with it. However, stress isn't only the feeling we get when we are overwhelmed -- there are different categories of stress. In the world of chiropractic, we call them the 3 T's -- thoughts, toxins, and traumas.


Thoughts -- The Things Our Mind Consumes Regularly


In the technological age, we have access to unrestricted amounts of media (news, social media apps, games, etc.). This has been revolutionary when we think of how far it has advanced the human race. However, an unaccounted for byproduct of this revolution was the impact it has on our mental health. If we are constantly consuming negative media (externally through social media/news or internally through self-talk [aka "auto-suggestion"]), this has a tendency to overwhelm us and this perceived stress can send our bodies into a stressed state. Chronic stress has been shown to promote inflammation and negatively impact our immune function. (2)


Toxins -- The Things Our Body Consumes Regularly


Like we stated in the first couple of paragraphs, the Standard American Diet is at the center of a LOT of problems in our health. The average American Diet can be characterized by the consumption of "excess sodium, saturated fat, refined grains, and calories from solid foods and added sugars." (3) Not only food, but smoking and excessive/problematic drinking are well-documented risk factors to poor overall health. We also have to be thinking of things like areas of the country that are affected by environmental toxins like air pollution (think -- large metropolitan areas with thousands of vehicles commuting every single day). The toxins that are introduced into our bodies don't necessarily take immediate effect, but overtime and with consistent consumption, they can accumulate and lead to a very destructive impact on our health! This toxic overload makes it difficult for our bodies to regulate themselves effectively.


Traumas -- This One Doesn't Require A Lot of Explanation


In this post, we're focused primarily on physical traumas -- let it be known that emotional/psychological traumas play a large role in our body's response to our surroundings and can impact our health. Traumas can be broken down into 2 subcategories -- major traumas and minor traumas. Major traumas are events like car accidents and falling off of ladders/roofs, and things that nature. Minor traumas are things we don't think about every day or really even notice are causing us any harm until a problem presents itself! The minor traumas we experience most commonly are repetitive motions and static positioning (i.e. Sitting at a desk all day or standing on concrete in a warehouse all day). Minor traumas can be destructive because they slip through the cracks of our day to day living and we may not even know we're doing anything wrong or causing harm until a problem arises. There is an idiom that can be used to describe this phenomenon -- "the straw that broke the camel's back". This describes a "minor or routine action" that can cause a large problem simply due to a cumulative impact. We can do something over and over again without it causing us an issue, but then one day the body has had enough!




How Does Chiropractic Help?


Chiropractic has been around since the late 1800s and the results that have been accomplished through this profession speak to its effectiveness. However, for some reason, there are individuals who seem to think that chiropractic is only good for relieving pain. While it is incredibly effective in reducing aches and pains, it's good for much more than just that. We could really dive down the rabbit hole on what makes chiropractic so effective, but we'll save diving deeper into this for another post in the future. We'll list off a few benefits that we see commonly in our office:


Improved Range of Motion and Flexibility


Regular physical activity is at the core of a healthy lifestyle, so maintaining proper joint function is crucial for improving flexibility, increasing range of motion, and making sure your body is able to support regular activity. Chiropractic adjustments aim to restore normal joint biomechanics and address musculoskeletal imbalances. Consistent chiropractic care helps you recover quicker and decreases the risk of overuse injuries by promoting long-term health. (4)


Stress Reduction and Mental Well-Being


As we mentioned above, stress plays a huge role in our body's ability to function and chronic stress has significant implications in our physical and mental health. Chiropractic adjustments are able to influence the body's response to stress by inhibiting our sympathetic nervous system (our "fight or flight" response) and promoting our parasympathetic nervous system (our "rest and digest" response). A lot of our time is spent in fight or flight primarily due to the increased amounts of mental and emotional stress we are under. The inhibition of this state of sympathetic overload decreases the effects that stress has on our bodies, improves our mental well-being, and creates a positive ripple effect on our overall lifestyle.


Enhanced Immune Function


A well-functioning nervous system is at the root of an optimal immune system. How can chiropractic impact immune function you may be wondering -- by decreasing stress! Chronic stress plays a crucial role in systemic inflammation, and it's this inflammatory negative feedback loop that can cause catastrophic dysfunction to our immune system. (2,7) Reducing the amount of stress that affects the nervous system, this allows us to bolster our body's defense mechanisms and aid in the optimal function of our immune system.


Posture Correction for Long-Term Health


We've already discussed the advancement of technology and how it has revolutionized our lives while also inadvertently leading to other problems. One of those problems we are seeing is the effect of our current lifestyle on our posture. Chiropractic care is effective in aiding in the correction of posture issues through specific adjustments and personalized exercises to help strengthen and support the spine. Good posture not only prevents aches and pains but supports overall health and vitality. Poor posture is not merely just an aesthetic issue, but there are problems it causes within our physical health, mental health, mood, confidence, relationships, job success, financial security, and our mortality!




Doing Something vs. Doing Nothing


"Insanity is doing the same thing over and over, but expecting a different result." - Albert Einstein

This is a very common issue in healthcare in this country. It seems like there are 5,000 ways to accomplish the same task -- bettering our health and well-being. Yet, why is it so difficult for us to start this journey? Is it fear? Confusion? Pride? The important thing to remember is the most important thing you can do for your health is to do SOMETHING rather than NOTHING.


Can't afford a gym membership? Do bodyweight exercises and go run outside.


Eating out too often? Fast food? Fried food? Sugary, processed foods? Mix in fruits and vegetables with clean proteins like chicken or ground beef.


Struggling to lose weight? Exercise and be in a calorie deficit. (women, get your hormones checked as this is a big player in your ability to fluctuate your weight!)


Can't afford to get adjusted 2-3x per week? Find some form of consistency to produce change within your body. Talk with your chiropractor about finding something that works with your finances.


Don't know where to start? Start at the beginning. Start simple. Just start.


Conclusion


Chiropractic is a very effective care option for a wide variety of conditions. The best part? It's safe and it works regardless of what you think and regardless of what you have heard from others or seen on Tik Tok (no, I'm not going to adjust you with the Y-Strap or give you a Ring Dinger).


If you're unsure of where to start in the realm of chiropractic, do your research and find someone who is trusted in your area. There are dozens of chiropractic techniques and it may take going to different offices to find out what is going to be a good fit.


References:

  1. https://www.commonwealthfund.org/publications/issue-briefs/2023/jan/us-health-care-global-perspective-2022#:~:text=The%20U.S.%20has%20the%20highest,hospital%20beds%20per%201%2C000%20population

  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24798553/#:~:text=In%20contrast%2C%20long%2Dterm%20stress,and%20function%20of%20immunoprotective%20cells

  3. https://www.uab.edu/inquiro/issues/past-issues/volume-9/the-effects-of-an-american-diet-on-health#:~:text=The%20Dietary%20Guidelines%20for%20Americans,products%2C%20and%20oils%20than%20recommended

  4. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC10075015/#:~:text=By%20addressing%20musculoskeletal%20imbalances%20and,health%20and%20performance%20%5B14%5D

  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK541120/

  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK538516/#:~:text=The%20parasympathetic%20nervous%20system%2C%20also,the%20pupil%20for%20near%20vision

  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5476783/

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