Can Chiropractic Care Treat Stress?
Chiropractic care is most recognized for spinal adjustments, pain relief, and posture correction, so it comes as a surprise to learn that one of the chiropractic treatment’s most essential purposes is to alleviate chronic stress. While chiropractic therapy does not always relieve tension in a direct manner – i.e., when the indirect effects of chiropractic treatment are what help to decrease stress in the body and mind – almost all expert chiropractic treatments result in a stress-relieving effect as a side effect.
Stress in the Body
Stress arises in two domains that, according to many researchers, are inextricably linked: the body and the mind. When it comes to disease, stress, physical and psychological illnesses, or bodily wear-and-tear, it can be difficult even for experts to distinguish where one begins and the other ends in each individual.
A symptom of a disease or an imbalance in the body is not worth addressing or treating until it has an effect on the mind. Pain, tension, or discomfort may linger for lengthy periods of time without treatment until the brain recognizes there is a problem and stops disregarding symptoms or discomfort.
For others, the mind may project an amplified intensity to minor signs of disharmony in the body. It’s difficult to shake the sensation that “something is wrong” once awareness has settled in the brain, and every extra knowledge of the symptom adds to discomfort, even if it isn’t physical pain.
Whether a problem is emotional or physical, it still has an impact on the body. Even if a mental strain or physical discomfort isn’t causing any harm, it still affects the body. The stress of an injury or bodily imbalance—even if it doesn’t become a mental stressor—can cause subsequent damage. If left untreated or disregarded, an imbalance symptom may silently worsen over time, necessitating more significant treatment as it progresses.
In other situations, stress is entirely mental—or at least it starts that way. A psychological stressor can have a similar impact on the body as a physical one over time, since hormones are released each time the mental worry is revisited. This can lead to weight gain, poor sleep quality, a weakened immune system, inflammation, digestive problems, high blood pressure, and even cognitive impairment. It goes without saying that emotional stresses are also one of the most common causes of sadness, anxiety attacks, and headaches.
Stress, like any other bodily or mental illness, affects the mind and body simultaneously. They inevitably intertwine due to their bidirectional relationship: Emotions influence physical health and overall wellness in the same manner that bodily issues have an impact on mental health. Chiropractic therapy is a particularly effective treatment for reducing stress because it influences both aspects of stress.
Chiropractic Stress Relief in the Body
Chiropractic’s most obvious and primary use for stress relief is in the body. Chiropractic therapy targets a variety of bodily systems, including the immune system, nervous system, skeletal system, and digestive system to mention a few. Because all body systems are connected and operate in tandem, it’s also accurate to say that chiropractic care affects all of the body’s systems.
The Immune System
Chiropractic treatment affects the immune system, which includes lymph nodes, tonsils, and other glands throughout the body. Chiropractic adjustments, for example, may improve immunological function by encouraging and enabling more lymphatic flow, allowing white blood cells and lymphocytes to freely circulate in regions where they were previously clogged or stagnant.
The body’s natural response to stress is almost always an immunological reaction. Chronic stress may push the body into a state of inflammation, which can aggravate sickness and infection. When a chiropractor performs an adjustment on the body, a surge of blood flow, cerebrospinal fluid, and other new cells flush the glands of the body, allowing toxins to be purged from the system and its whole system to be reinvigorated.
It’s also one of the most common reasons for mild headaches after chiropractic treatment. Toxins are flushed from the body, and the immune system is reset following chiropractic care, which is why it’s so crucial to stay hydrated.
The Nervous System
The nervous system is also affected by chiropractic treatments. When joints and bones are returned to their natural alignment, pressure is relieved from compressed nerves, whether it’s an adjustment or Chiropractic BioPhysics®, a form of chiropractic care that moves bones and joints into new positions over longer periods of time.
When pressure is removed from compressed and constricted nerves, electrical energy may flow through the body at its optimum rate once again. Chiropractic care restores lost sensations and reduces or eliminates nerve-related discomfort, where there may be loss of feeling to extremities, numbness, tingling, or pain (sciatic and related).
The nervous system is a key actor in the stress response. Both the central (brain and spinal cord) and peripheral nervous systems are involved in the stress response. The fight-or-flight reaction is governed by the CNS, while the SNS regulates hormones. It takes both systems to fully execute the stress response, from initial signals indicating that something is wrong to adrenaline and cortisol secretion.
Because the brain and spinal cord make up the majority of the CNS, chiropractic treatment is frequently associated with it. The PNS, on the other hand, includes all of the nerves that cover the entire body and are similarly affected by chiropractic therapy.
When the nervous system is calm and operating effectively—a condition that chiropractic treatment may assist to promote and sustain—stress in the body can be reduced, and the physical stress response can be dampened or canceled out from continuous and needless stimulation.
The Skeletal System
The skeleton is the most popular body system associated with chiropractic treatment. When people think of a chiropractic therapy, they usually envision an adjustment or spinal traction, two of the main methods utilized to realign bones and joints. While there are numerous other types of chiropractic therapy available, manual bone and joint manipulation is unquestionably important in chiropractic treatment.
Bones and joints that are misaligned create a tremendous amount of stress in the body, as well as on virtually every system in the body. Pinching nerves, compressing organs, straining and pulling muscles and ligaments, deforming bones, and even causing major problems with breathing and digestion are all possible effects of misalignment and subluxation. Misaligned bones and joints also create their own set of issues and stress within the skeletal system. They can contribute to poor posture by reducing the effectiveness of the spinal structure , as well as pain when moving.
Arthritis can develop as a result of misalignment and subluxation, which can raise the risk of arthritis and cause bones and joints to join in locations where they do not normally touch.
When posture is corrected, the spine and extremities are restored to proper balance and alignment, and the entire body is improved. Globally, stress is reduced as a result of bodily functions being enhanced, muscles, ligaments, and tissues returning to their correct function, and the body’s structure being able to fully perform its duty of maintaining uprightness and mobility.
The Digestive System
The digestive system is frequently surprised by the effect chiropractic therapy has on it, as the skeletal system and digestive systems are not typically considered to be linked. However, as stated previously, all body systems are interconnected, and the skeletal and digestive systems are no exception.
When the nerves of the body and organs are compressed by misaligned bones and joints, their function is severely limited. Nerves in particular frequently suffer from reduced performance as a result of misalignment, and they are primarily responsible for sending messages between the digestive system and other organs. When the body is stressed, it often sends a signal to stop digestion.
Digestion becomes extremely chaotic and fluctuates between hyper- and hypo- states of function when stress is continuously applied. Indigestion, irregular bowel movements, nausea, diarrhea, or constipation may all be caused by the impact of chronic stress on the nervous system.
Aside from influencing the nervous system, misaligned bones and joints can also severely impact the digestive organs. Excess pressure is applied to the abdominal region, especially the stomach and intestines, when the spine is curved abnormally as a result of scoliosis. Those organs are then compelled to shift their position in order to compensate for this strain. The cells of these organs may be damaged by abnormal compression in specific regions, limiting their performance even more.
When the body is properly positioned, stress is reduced in both the nervous and digestive systems, and no additional pressure is applied to areas where it doesn’t belong.
Stress Relief in the Mind
Chiropractic treatment has a wide range of mental benefits. Chiropractic treatment has been found to reduce sadness and anxiety as well as increase the amount of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF). The function of CSF is to assist detoxify and provide nutrients to the brain, as well as protect it from impact and damage. The relaxing effects of chiropractic therapy on the body also help to relieve tension in the mind, resulting in a tangible psychological benefit. With regard to mental and physical benefits, chiropractic is one of the most powerful interventions available.
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