Stress Need Not Overwhelm Us
Arno Burnier, DC
Stress seems to be the villain of our times. No matter where we turn, stress appears to be the cause of every ailment, from heart attack to stroke, colitis to cancer, anxiety to anorexia.It’s interesting that no one ever tells us what stress is! We have made stress out to become an intangible, esoteric, invisible aggressor that wreaks havoc with our body. Stress, however, has very real physiological manifestations:
First, stress is an outside input, force, or information that is perceived by our nervous system. If our nervous system is at ease and flexible, the incoming stress will be dealt with properly in a non-threatening manner. On the other hand, if the nervous system is already overloaded, the new event will be viewed as overwhelming, and absorbed in a destructive manner that will trigger a cascade of physiological events.
Second, in the latter situation, the tension of the nerves will increase causing them to fire excessively into the muscles, causing them to tighten. This is commonly referred to as being “wired up,” strung out,” or “ready to snap.” These terms are common yet very accurate ways of describing what actually takes place internally. Third, since muscles are attached to various adjacent bones of the skeletal system, it causes them to move and shift in relationship to each other. This new distortion is of no apparent consequence when it disturbs an arm or a leg. But when it disturbs the delicate balance of the spinal column which houses and protects the spinal cord and nerves, it has significant physiological effects on the overall functioning and performance of our body. This is when we hear people saying, “It’s a pain in the neck,” or “Back off!” or “The weight of responsibilities is bearing down on me!” The associated posture is head down, rounded shoulders, along with the body flexed forward or stooped over like Danny DeVito when things are not going his way.
Finally, the cumulative effects of increased nerve tension, muscular tightness and skeletal distortions leads to subluxations of the spine. This further disrupts the nervous system and sets up a vicious cycle. All this has repercussions on the internal organs because as time marches on, and as stress begins to erode the body, physiological breakdowns begin to appear followed by symptoms, pathological breakdowns, and dis-eases. Everyone has experienced stress at one time or another as tension in the neck, upper or lower back, followed by an edginess difficult to control. Rather than waiting for symptoms, it is a lot easier to prevent the potentially devastating effects of stress by keeping the nervous system flexible, supple, and adaptable. We can counteract the effects of stress at the location where it first affects the body: the neuromuscular/spinal system. The regular adjustment of subluxations and the clearing of the nervous system associated with Chiropractic care resets the system, and helps to prevent overload. This permits more effective and deeper perceptions of reality, greater capacity to adapt and recover from stress, along with freer individual expression and overall health and well-being.
That’s what Chiropractic is all about!