As Sun Prairie's most trusted chiropractor for chronic pain, we've seen firsthand the affects of holiday stress on our community members before, during, and after the season.
Additionally, some levels of stress are beneficial.
If a lion were chasing you, raising your heart rate, tensing your muscles, and sharpening your mind would help you get away safely.
You can relax knowing that no lions will be after you today.
The same "fight or flight" response could be triggered by, say, being rudely cut off by another driver when you're on the way to pick up your holiday gifts.
Do you recall the last time your heart rate skyrocketed when you spotted a car swerving into your lane?
That was the result of an immediate and severe stress response.
Negative stress, whether actual or imagined, causes a physiological response in the brain and body, and long-term stress, particularly seasonal stress, can have serious consequences for your health.
The Reason It Matters:
Acute stress can be beneficial in the short term.
It aids our speed of response.
Hormones (chemicals) secreted by your adrenal glands aid the body's rapid response when instructed to do so by your brain.
Adrenaline speeds up heart rate, enhances blood pressure, and provides a burst of extra energy.
The principal stress hormone, cortisol, raises blood sugar levels, improves the brain's usage of glucose, boosts the availability of chemicals that repair tissues, and reduces activities that are unnecessary or detrimental during a fight-or-flight response.
In addition to affecting the immune system and suppressing the digestive system, this intricate natural alarm system can also affect the central nervous system.
The body's alarm mechanism (also known as the stress reaction) generally has a self-limiting effect.
However, you may feel yourself slipping into chronic stress mode if the body's stress reaction remains uncontrolled for an extended period of time.
We're here to tell you as the leading Sun Prairie chronic pain chiropractor that, indeed, individuals of all ages and walks of life suffer from chronic stress.
(Yes, even that one friend who practices yoga and meditation religiously every day.)
It's no secret that the stress of the holidays may have a negative impact on your mind and body over time, leading to things like increased cortisol secretion and a hypersensitive physiologic stress response.
And because chronic pain and stress symptoms often overlap and reinforce one another, the cyclical nature of these conditions is reinforced.
The chronic stress cycle is best understood by keeping in mind the following...
Anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep disturbances, and other health issues may develop as a result of prolonged exposure to stress.
There is a link between stress and inflammation and discomfort through the stress hormone cortisol.
Adjustments to the spine have the potential to reduce cortisol levels.
Wait? Is it possible that chiropractic therapy could alleviate my perennial Christmas anxiety?
The answer is YES.
Chiropractic Care Can Help You Manage Chronic Stress
There has been some research suggesting that chiropractic care, and specifically spinal adjustments, can reduce stress levels in the body.
Patients with chronic, recurrent neck pain and headaches who got chiropractic care reported significant reductions in their perceived levels of physical and emotional stress, according to a recent study.
Improvements in physical function were also documented, which is theorized to be the mechanism by which chiropractic care mitigates the return of chronic stress and chronic pain.
What to Do Next:
To "wrap up" this lesson, we suggest that you keep track of your stress levels every day leading up to and during the Christmas season.
We hope that if you feel it building up, you'll give us a call to schedule an appointment with the best chronic pain chiropractor in Sun Prairie to get an adjustment that will help relieve the tension and relax you.
So that you may finally relax and enjoy the holidays, this year and every year to come, our caring team of wellness specialists is here to help you beat that chronic seasonal stress and finally put an end to those persistent back and neck issues.
Stress Management. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain. Physical Therapy. 2014. Cortisol Levels and Chiropractic. Journal of Contemporary Chiropractic. 2020.