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Stress can be good for you in small doses. However, in our busy modern lifestyle full of deadlines the constant flight/fight reaction can be detrimental to your health. Stress is one of the body’s protective mechanisms inbuilt to keep you energetic and alert in the case of an emergency. It is important to deal with stress as it can show in many different ways affecting your mind body and behaviour.

Some signs and symptoms of too much stress include:

  • Memory problems
  • Poor concentration
  • Poor judgement
  • Moodiness
  • Irritability
  • Feeling lonely or isolated
  • Depression
  • Eating more or less
  • Procrastination
  • Using alcohol, cigarettes or drugs to relax
  • nxiety

Some physical signs and symptoms include

  • Aches and Pains due to prolonged muscle tension (back, neck, jaw etc)
  • Nausea or dizziness
  • Chest pain or rapid heart beat
  • Low immunity – frequent colds
  • Loss of sex drive
  • Skin conditions such as eczema
  • Heart disease
  • Headaches
  • Diabetes

Your body responds the same to physical and emotional stress. Chronic stress can be detrimental to your health. It can raise blood pressure, lower immunity, contribute to infertility, and speed up the aging process.

How to deal with stress:

  • Visit your chiropractor: Stress can cause a build-up of tension in your muscles as well as nerve irritation. A chiropractor will often work on the soft tissue structures to increase circulation and to release tension. The adjustment will release endorphins[i][ii] which calm the nervous system as well as increasing blood circulation[iii]. In many cases this will switch off the constant flight/fight response in the brain, alleviating stress.
  • Be organised, write lists. These may help with time management
  • Exercise: physical activity can reduce tension in your muscles
  • Relaxation exercises: yoga or breathing techniques can be helpful to release tension
  • Communicate: Talk to someone about your struggles
  • Spend time with positive people
  • Eat healthy: it helps your body cope with stress better
  • Reduce caffeine and sugar: they will give you a temporary high and a crash in mood and energy will follow

[i] Vernon HT, Dhami MS, Howley TP, Annett R. Spinal manipulation and beta-endorphin: a controlled study of the effect of a spinal manipulation on plasma beta-endorphin levels in normal males. J Man Phyiol Ther. 1986

[ii] Cassidy JD, Lopes AA, et al: The immediate effect of manipulation versus mobilisation on pain and range of motion in the cervical spine; a pilot study. J Manip Physiol ther, 1992; 15:495-500

[iii] Harris W, Wagnon RJ: The effects of chiropractic adjustments on distal skin temperature. J Manip Physiol Ther 1987; 10:57-60