Believe it or not, stress has a purpose. A long time ago, our elevated heart rate, increased levels of arousal and that general feeling of being on high alert is what was key to our survival. Our flight or fight response, while key to saving our lives, is also what can plague our mental and physical health and lead to what we know as chronic stress, or anxiety.
While fighting chronic stress and anxiety sometimes feels like a losing battle, there are many things that can be done to help. To start it can help by understanding a little bit more about what’s going on your body and why stress is such an epidemic in Western society. Here are five things you should know about stress.
1. Stress is Natural
We know that stress is your body’s way of preparing you for survival, so first thing’s first, if you suffer from stress, no need to worry – you’re a normal human! But while a stress response is certainly a welcome physiological reaction if you’re being chased by a lion, it is far less fun feeling on high alert with your heartbeat racing before a Monday meeting, running five minutes late to a doctor’s appointment, or trying to unwind before bed. Stress, and particularly anxiety is essentially an overactive fight or flight response meaning your body essentially has a lower threshold for what it considers to be an attack and is trying to prepare you. But here’s the good news, unlike our physiological systems, anxiety and chronic stress can be treated.
2. Chronic Anxiety has increased since 2020
According to the World Health Organization, Chronic Anxiety has increased by 25% since 2020, correlating with the COVID-19 pandemic. This increase in psychological disorders is no doubt worrying for general mental wellness, however it has effects that permeate even deeper than this. Stress at any level threatens homeostasis – our body’s way of maintaining equilibrium and optimal function. This means that aside from troubling us mentally, anxiety or stress can drastically affect physical health, leading to decreased immune system function and even higher likelihood of physical injury, as demonstrated by recent research. So seeking help to manage anxiety and general stress is fundamental.
3. Chiropractic Care is an Effective Way to Tackle Stress and Anxiety
Stress can come from many sources, but interestly it tends to affect the body in a similar way. It changes one’s posture, creates contractions of the muscle, lowers immune function, and can lead to trouble sleeping. Chiropractic care is an important treatment to manage all these conditions, and research would agree. A study of twelve individuals showed that participants exhibited decreased stress levels and better quality of life after chiropractic treatment, including spinal manipulation. Chiropractors specialize in personalized patient care in a way that allows you to chat with a healthcare professional that understands mental wellbeing, while also providing the physical manipulation tailored to treating your body.
4. Physical Causes of Stress Can be Resolved with Spinal Adjustment
Both the physical and mental repercussions of anxiety and stress can impact the spine. When the body is constantly in fight or flight mode, this unfortunately manifests in spinal abnormalities resulting from hunched posture, tense muscles, and persistent labored breathing. When these physical changes take place, it has the effect of shifting vertebral alignment leading to abnormal physical and physiological functioning. To make matters worse, this can further complicate the issue at hand, as physical dysfunction and pain can worsen existing stress… and so the cycle continues. It’s a lot – we understand – so we’re here to nip it in the bud. With regular adjustments chiropractic care has the ability to align your spine and thus optimize your bodily function, while also creating long-term treatment plans to help you manage stress. Not only can we help correct spinal abnormalities caused by stress, but we can set you on the path to adjusting your stress level too (along with your spine!)
5. Relaxation and Meditation are Important… But Not an Alternative to Professional Care
Candles? Baths? Yoga in the forest? Go for it. In this day and age, it is vitally important to find things that help you breathe slower, take a break and, recharge your battery. What’s important to know is that when managing long-term stress and anxiety, personal meditation and relaxation should be used as a side order to your professional healthcare, not your main course. As discussed, when chronic stress conditions lead to compromised immune function, physical abnormalities, and chronic sleep problems, it’s essential that you don’t forgo your chiropractor or doctor to help you manage your condition.
Aside from this, some meditation trends are sold as a fix-all solution to any problem, but buying into these solutions can be costly, ineffective, and detrimental to your health in the case of serious physiological problems as a result of stress. So call your chiropractor for professional help (then take all the bubble baths you want.)
When it comes to dealing with stress and anxiety, remember that you’re not alone. Chronic stress and anxiety can be all-consuming, scary, and bleak. Understand that what you’re going through is normal and that you can have the help you need to manage your condition. Chiropractic care is proven by research to be an effective way of managing your stress and improving your physical health. While switching off your fight or flight response or removing all stressors in your life, isn’t possible, managing stress and reducing its impact on your mind, your spine, and your general health, is. WellSpine KC is proud to be your trusted chiropractic care in Overland Park and we’re ready to help. Call us today to schedule your appointment, and start to breathe a little easier.