Stress: a way of life
In 1983, Time magazine declared stress "the epidemic of the 80's." However, when compared with today's pace, the 80's seem almost leisurely. From everyday annoyances such as dealing with traffic or feeling rushed, to major life changes, such as changing jobs, moving, or getting married or divorced, stress is something that each of us copes with daily.
One thing is certain: Stress affects each of us, but often in very different ways. For some, a certain amount of stress can be a stimulant causing them to meet challenges and achieve goals. Fot others, coping with similar stresses can be overwhelming, causing mental fatigue and physical illness. There's no way to predict with certainty how someone will respond to stress.
Stress can make you sick
Evidence of stress-related illness in all age groups is becoming more and more common. Accroding to conservative estimates, abnormal stress is the major contributing factor in 75% of all human illness.
When stress takes over
All of us suffer from occasional stress. However, even seemingly run-of-the-mill stresses can become chronic (long lasting). Chronic stress causes the body to respond and adapt in ways that are often unhealthy.
The source of chronic stress can be emotional, from the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, or even too many unpaid bills. Stress can also have a physical source, such as from an accident, overexertion, or illness. Chronic stress produces some common reactions. Emotionally, stress can lead to depression, anxiety, and anger. Physically, stress has been implicated in conditions ranging from backaches to headaches, high blood pressure, heart disease, poor immune system response, asthma, colds, infections, and digestive disorders.
A major cause of stress
The bones that surround and protect the spinal cord are called vertebrae. Vertebrae can move from their normal position due to trauma, chemical imbalances, poor posture, emotional or physical stress, and other problems. The resulting disturbance to the spinal cord interferes with normal nerve flow. This starts a degenerative chain reaction that can affect the health and function of virtually every cell, tissue, organ, and system of the body. Doctors call this the "vertebral subluxation complex." It is one of the most damaging stresses you can experience. Untreated, it can limit your ability to react and adapt to stresses you encounter in daily life.
HOW CHIROPRACTIC CAN HELP
Doctors of Chiropractic are the only professionals trained and educated in the diagnosis and correction ot the vertebral subluxation complex. Too often, medicine treats the symptoms of illness rather than the causes. The chiropractic approach is based on finding and correcting interferences to your body's natural state of good health. By removing vertebral subluxations from your body, your nervous system can function as it should, leaving you better able to cope with stress, both physical and mental.
Your chiropractor's primary tool in treating the vertebral subluxation complex is the use of manipulation or spinal adjustment. By applying precisely directed force to a spinal joint that is out of position or not moving properly, the doctor gradually restores the joint to a more normal position and function. Depending on your individual problem, the doctor's hands or a special instrument may be used to deliver quick, therapeutic thrust to the affected joint. Other adjustments require slow, constant pressure.
Your Doctor of Chirpopractic can also counsel you regarding lifestyle changes and relaxation techniques to help you better deal with stress.
What you can do
We all know happy, healthy people who seem to lead busy, seemingly stressful lives. This may lead you to suspect that improving how you handle the stress in your life may be more important than limiting stress. Even though many of us could stand to reduce the amount of stress in our lives, this is not the whole answer. In many cases, it's not even possible. There are, however, ways you can improve your ability to handle stress.
Begin with a chiropractic checkup to find any vertebral subluxations you may have.
Work with your doctor to examine your life for sources of stress.
Talk with your doctor about relaxation and meditation techniques for reducing stress.
Make moderate exercise a regular part of your life. As simple as it sounds, walking for 30 minutes most days of the week can be a remarkable stress-reliever. You can even break this up into 3 sessions of just 10 minutes each.
Get the right amount of sleep. For most people, this is seven or eight hours nightly.
Adopt healthier eating habits. People living busy lives may not treat what they put into their bodies with the importance it deserves.
Cultivate a positive outlook. Your own attitude is the one thing you can control that can make everything else in life better.