Candice Taylor, chiropractor at Back 2 Balance, is expertly positioned to advise on ‘stress’ matters, being both a chiropractor and trained hypnotherapist. She has a very special interest in the psychology of stress and its physiological impacts to the human body. She uses relaxation techniques and mind quietening exercises to help people suffering from anxiety and worry, especially as it is so commonly involved with chronic suffers of back pain and headaches.

 

We all encounter stress in our day-to-day lives, but how many of us really know what happens to our bodies during stressful events?

When you come under stress, your body produces cortisol and adrenaline. These hormones help regulate our bodies to fight or take flight. This stress response is useful in the short term and in certain conditions, evolutionary it enabled us to get away from predators and dangerous situations.

women experiencing stress, leading to headachesCortisol and adrenaline activate your sympathetic nervous system, which increases your heart rate and blood pressure. Sugars from the liver are converted to fuel bursts of energy. Blood clotting mechanisms kick in to prevent blood loss in case of injury, natural sleep processes are blocked. It also decreases your learning/working memory. Adjunct to this, stress decreases your parasympathetic nervous system; this decreases sex drive, digestion, growth and immunity.

In the short term this flight-fight response is perfect but damaging in the long run. Prolonged levels of raised cortisol have been shown to dampen down your immune system. Ever wondered why you catch a cold when you feel stressed? It also decreases your brains ability to function, impairing your memory.

Today, we know through research that this automatic response is being switched on not only by real threats but also to perceived threats. Our brains can irrationally create feelings of danger and threat. Any anxiety or apprehension can trigger the stress response such as feeling as though you might loose your job, are worried about money or loose a loved one.

Research has shown that prolonged stress is linked to and exaggerate many health conditions including heart disease, asthma, obesity, diabetes, headaches, gastrointestinal problems, depression and anxiety.

It also has a habit of showing itself physically. We see clients whose symptoms are exaggerated by stress, why not talk to your chiropractor about stress or check out our other blogs on stress.

Everyone reacts differently; symptoms can be psychological, emotional, behavioural, physical or a mix of these. Below is a list naming some of the more common symptoms:

A change in appetite
Change in sleep
Low self esteem
Irritability
Anxious thoughts
Constant worrying
Difficulty concentrating
Memory troubles
Aches and pains
Nausea
Dizziness

If you feel stressed and suffer from back pain be aware that the stress hormones and the bodies natural response can prolong your recovery and reduce your chances of improving with Chiropractic care. At Back 2 Balance we aim to provide a holistic approach to help you manage all aspects of your recovery. Call us on 01273 206868 to help get your body, back on track.

Below are the references to a couple of studies that explain the link between stress and musculoskeletal pain in both adults and teens.

Stress-induced Physiologic Changes as a Basis for the Biopsychosocial Model of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain: A New Theory?
Finestone, Hillel M.; Alfeeli, Aziz; Fisher, William A.
Clinical Journal of Pain:
November/December 2008 – Volume 24 – Issue 9 – pp 767-775

Neck/Shoulder, Low Back, and Arm Pain in Relation to Computer Use, Physical Activity, Stress, and Depression Among Dutch Adolescents
A.C.M. Diepenmaat, M.F, vab der Wal, H.C.W. de Vet, R.A. Hirsasing.
Pediatrics:
February 2006 – Volume 117 – Number 2 – pp 412-412