Stress and The Body
JAN 3, 2022
Hello everyone, this is Dr. Aaron Seaton with The Chiropractic Place doing another video. Today, we wanted to talk about stress in your body, how stress impacts your body, what the effects are, what actually takes place when you're under a lot of stress. We just had a lot of holidays come through, so this is a good video to kinda understand what can happen with your body. One of the things that your body does is it produces a stress hormone known as cortisol. And cortisol has this effect on our body, it's basically designed when we're in that fight or flight state. So most people have heard of that. Where you get into a fight or flight state and what cortisol does is it mobilizes blood sugar, get a lot of energy into the bloodstream, so your body, if you're running away from, say, an animal trying to attack you or something, that's really what the fight or flight response was designed for. So cortisol increases blood sugar, so that you have lots of energy available. It also decreases blood flow to our organs and increases blood flow to our muscles. So that's another part of the fight or flight response, so that you have a lot of blood going to the extremities, like the legs, the arms, so in case you gotta run or fight something that you have blood where it needs to be.
The other thing is, is it shuts down your immune system, believe or not, decreases immune function because the immune system is very expensive to run. And so your body has only a certain amount of energy, and if you're trying to survive, long-term immune function is not a priority, if you're trying to get away from say a saber-toothed tiger or whatever, but that's what your body interprets stress as. You can have increased pain with stress, and it also can increase inflammation. So what happened to us now in the modern world is we don't have those short bursts of stress followed by downtime where we're able to relax. Most of our stresses is like chronic long-term type stress throughout the entire day. So it's important to know how to manage that. So you know that your body produces cortisol, you've understood that from this video, your body makes this stress hormone, and that will increase your blood sugar levels, it will shut down your immune function, it increases pain and inflammation if it has this chronic long-term stress effect. So we need to do things that counteract that with our modern lifestyle. A great thing to do, getting adjusted by your chiropractor, believe it or not, getting adjusted helps put your body back into the parasympathetic, rest and digest state.
There's fight or flight, and then there's rest and digest. And when you get adjusted, that helps harmonize and kind of normalize the function of your nerve system so that you can get back into that rest and digest state. It really can help your body function at a much higher level. Most people think with chiropractic, it's back pain, neck pain, headaches, and we're very effective at helping those things, but this is also a great thing to use to help normalize your nerve system to help your body function better. Another thing I always tell people, "You gotta exercise." When you think of cortisol or adrenaline, that's another stress hormone, your body mobilizes that, those hormones thinking you're about to be, say attacked or you're trying to get away from something attacking you. So in order to burn those hormones off or give your body something to do with it, I highly recommend regular exercise, especially if you have a higher stress life, you will help burn off this stuff that happens and kind of reset your body so your body can relax again, get that immune system back up, get that normal function happening again.
And the number three thing, learning to breathe. There's a really great book out there, I believe the author was James Nestor, he wrote a book, I think it's called Breath, that just discusses how to breathe properly, how to breathe through our nose and taking time, slowing things down, this will really help and it's really effective 'cause you can do those techniques anywhere. If you're feeling stressed out on an airplane or at work, you can use these breathing techniques to help calm yourself down and hit a reset button, but these are three things absolutely effective at helping combat stress and the effect that stress has on our body. And a lot of people, they know those familiar symptoms of stress, you get pain in your shoulders, pain in your neck, maybe you're carrying your shoulders up high, and that stress can kind of compound, and when our patients come in, I can see the postural changes when they're stressed. You can see it on people, their posture changes when they're stressed and when we're able to adjust them and release that, they get up, they can just move, their neck feels better, their upper back, their spine feels better.
And you can see them take a nice deep breath, and most of them come back and report, "Doc, I haven't slept that good in months." And that's because we're helping normalize the nerve system which controls all of this by the way, and helps hit a reset for that person. And helps them better manage their stress. So hopefully this video is helpful for you. If you have any questions regarding how chiropractic can affect your stress levels and how it'll help manage your stress, give our office a call. I'm Dr. Aaron Seaton with the Chiropractic Place.
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