The Root Cause
Stress. That dreaded “S” word.
Americans are the most stressed-out people on the planet. Our schedules are packed-full, our meals are grab-n-go, and our sleep is hit-or-miss. We are all familiar with the feelings of stress. But do we know the connection between stress and our overall health? Before you can understand what chiropractic care can do for your health, you must first understand the root cause of all health issues, stress.
Stress is the body’s response to a stressor. These stressors can consist of one or all of the following:
The secret to health is not just limiting these stressors, but controlling how your body responds to them. How your body responds to stress is controlled by the nervous system. Comprising of your brain, spinal cord, and the nerves that run throughout your body, your nervous system demonstrates an intricate relationship that literally controls every aspect of your health. The core foundation of chiropractic is to care for your body’s nervous system.
Take a look at an example of how the nervous system responds to a stressor: Let’s say that you are involved in a “near miss” automobile accident – your nervous system enters what we call a “fight or flight”, or sympatheticresponse. While in this state, your body will demonstrate:
- High-frequency brain activity
- Falling hand temperatures, as blood rushes to more important internal organs and larger muscles
- Increase in respiration (breathing) above the norm of 12 to 15 breaths per minute
- Tightened muscle activity (especially in the neck and head region)
- Increased skin conductance (sweat), in order to better grip objects
- Increased heart rate above the normal 60 beats per minute
- The release of hormones adrenalin and cortisol
All of these responses are completely normaland beneficial during the life-threatening event. Although very demanding on the body, these responses help us survive! Once the threat is gone, our nervous system returns our bodies to a calming “rest & digest”, or parasympathetic response.
Here’s a common example: Attention Deficit Disorder has gained much publicity in the last few years but is still greatly misunderstood. It is not, as most people think, a challenge of an overactive nervous system, but rather an under-active nervous system. Instead of the nervous system moving into high brain activity to focus on something (beta brainwaves) it drops into the light sleep/subconscious response (theta brainwaves).
In other words, the ADD nervous system is so unbalanced that it is stuck in a light sleep mode all the time – it wants to shut down. The individual needs further alternative stimulation (Ritalin & Adderall are stimulants) to remain alert. This is like putting gasoline on a fire to keep it burning – not the best way to solve the problem.
How do I know if my nervous system is working correctly?
At Fully Alive Chiropractic, we use a machine called the NeuroInfinitito conduct a test of your nervous system called a stress response evaluation.
The Stress Response Evaluation is a 12-minute computerized, totally non-invasive exam using instruments found in research facilities around the world. Sensors are attached to your skin in areas such as your shoulder muscles, the top of your head, your forearms, and your hands. There are no needles or any form of skin penetration. From this computerized interactive test, we can compare your neurological response and recovery to three different types of stress challenges. This is a very effective and accurate method of measuring your physiological response to various stressors.
Health is about discovering what your stressors are, and then improving your nervous system’s response to those stressors. Stress will always be part of life, but what we can change is how we deal with it, as well as undoing the damage that we have created in the past.
This is our mission at Fully Alive Chiropractic.