Patients often come into the office complaining of a new pain or an exacerbation of an old injury and wonder why. They can’t think of any recent traumas, so why are they hurting? It’s easy to recognize how a fall, car accident, heavy lifting or sporting activity can cause an injury, but sometimes it’s not so obvious. Our brains are hard-wired to find an explanation. We want to know why and how to avoid pain and suffering. But it is not usually explained by any 1 thing we just did. It usually occurs due to cumulative stresses, over time. And just like the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back, it seems to come on suddenly. We would rather believe that if we just don’t bend down to pet the dog, or pick up the paper, or lift a suitcase, we will be ok. But we did these daily activities hundreds of times before without a problem, until this time – the final straw.
So here’s how it works – there are 3 major causes of subluxations (misalignments) of the spine:
- Traumas, injuries and impacts
- Mental and/or emotional stress
- Toxic overload
Subluxations are often chronic – they have been there a long time and they don’t usually hurt. In fact, subluxations are silent about 2/3 of the time. They become painful with the addition of that final stressor (the last straw). It might be mental or emotional. A recent example is a patient who could not figure out why her spine was so flared-up. After all, nothing had happened; except she had been driving a lot and experiencing tremendous grief over losing someone very dear to her. The body-mind connection is very real and can not be discounted.
This overload is very much like what happens to the electrical system at your house. If you plug in too many appliances on the circuit, you blow a breaker and then there is no power to 1 area of your house. We need to flip the switch at the breaker box to restore power. This is like the adjustment which restores power to all the different parts of the body through the nervous system.
When we are under physical, mental or toxic stress, the sympathetic nerves are stimulated. This is called the “fight or flight” response. The large muscles of the body tighten up in preparation for quick movement. The small muscles that stabilize the vertebrae of the spine are dialed down. This instability allows the vertebrae of the neck and back to subluxate (misalign) more easily.
So, the problem is sympathetic dominance. We are in ”fight or flight” mode a great amount of time in our lives today. When we are parasympathetic dominant (tend and befriend) we are able to relax and heal.
There are many solutions to help restore sympathetic/parasympathetic balance:
- Get Adjusted Incredibly powerful at re-setting the balance from sympathetic to parasympathetic.
- Exercise with an easy walk, even 10 minutes makes a big difference. Do what you like for maximum benefit.
- Deep breathing tells your body that all is well and there is no need for “fight or flight”.
- Adequate sleep helps lower stress levels and balance the nervous system.
- Healthy food: free of toxins and chemicals helps alleviate stress and sympathetic dominance.
Stressed out? Don’t wait until for the proverbial straw! Call us today if chiropractic can help! (512)346-3536