The human body and all of its functions are incredibly complex. We have the ability to adapt to physical, mental, and chemical stress at a fundamental level. Our lifestyles create or diminish stress depending on diet, physical activity, attitude, posture, past history of trauma, and the environment we live in. The automatic operating system (aOS) is the primary portion of the nervous system that helps the body recognize the interactions we have with our environment in the form of short term stress and long term or chronic stress.
We have a particular response pattern to sudden or severe stress called the “Fight or Flight” mechanism. The is the primary portion of the aOS that helps us deal with or adapt to changes in our environment. The responsibility of the aOS in times of stress is to allow our bodies to continue to self-regulate. The best way to evaluate stress is by intensity, frequency, and duration.
In a healthy individual, the nervous system will adapt to stress based on intensity or severity, the frequency of exposure, and the duration of the stress. In severe cases, the aOS will create the “Fight or Flight” response. During “Fight or Flight,” the body will go into a defensive mode and out of a growth mode. This is a very beneficial state during short term stress but a very bad state to be in throughout life.
During a stressful event, our bodies will release stress hormones, primarily adrenaline and cortisol for increased energy and short bursts of physical activity. The blood vessels will constrict around our organs and blood will be delivered to the muscles to help us get away from stress quickly and efficiently. Our heart rate will increase and our breathing will become shallow.
We will become more acutely aware of our environment, but have less ability to consciously make decisions. The body and mind at this time are not in a “normal” state because the order of the moment is to survive the event, not to thrive, grow, or repair tissue.
The problem we run into is when we have chronic long-term, low-intensity stress and the nervous system adopts a prolonged Fight or Flight state.
When the body has accumulated stress and the nervous system learns a pattern of prolonged stress responses, the only outcome can and will be a state of imbalance and eventual disease. The majority of the diseases that affect most people are caused by the stress response, not a lack of medicine or pills.
Does chronic “Fight or Flight” sound like advanced aging, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, cancer, diabetes, depression, and disease? When you are “running from a tiger” does your body care about immune function?
Why do we have more people than ever taking medicine for high blood pressure, hypertension, mental disorders, diabetes, cancer, ulcers and the list goes on? We have become a nation that attempts to treat disease instead of detecting and correcting the cause.
Benefits of Managing Stress
- A stronger immune system for fighting disease
- Lower risk of heart disease and other chronic illnesses
- Reduced burnout at work and in your personal life
- Increased productivity and awareness due to increased blood flow and oxygen to the critical areas of your brain
If you have uncontrolled stress and/or your nervous system has interference or imbalance causing it to react or respond in sick or diseased patterns, you may not know it until symptoms show up.
The key is to act now, have a thorough health evaluation so you can understand how to develop long term healthy lifestyle patterns and enjoy a life of health and well-being. Healthy diet, exercise, and chiropractic adjustments allow for your nervous system to function at it’s best. When your nervous system is at its optimum, your “Fight or Flight” responses will be normal, and your risk of chronic disease plummets.
Is Regular Chiropractic Care a part of your plan for lifetime wellness?
In a landmark study published in the Journal of Vertebral Subluxation Research, chiropractors collaborating with researchers at the University of Lund found that chiropractic care could influence basic physiological processes affecting oxidative stress and DNA repair. These findings offer a scientific explanation for the positive health benefits reported by patients receiving chiropractic care.
Dr. Christopher Kent, one of the authors explained, “Going through life, we experience physical, chemical, and emotional stress. These stresses affect the function of the nervous system. We hypothesized that these disturbances in nerve function could affect oxidative stress and DNA repair on a cellular level.”
“Oxidative stress, metabolically generating free radicals, is now a broadly accepted theory of how we age and develop disease,” Kent continued. “Oxidative stress results in DNA damage, and inhibits DNA repair. DNA repair is the mechanism which fixes the damage caused by environmental impact.”
Chiropractors apply spinal adjustments to correct disturbances of nervous system function. “Chiropractic care appears to improve the ability of the body to adapt to stress,” continued Kent.