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I'm So Stressed OUT! How Chiropractic Can Help

Man getting back adjustmentWe know stress isn’t good for us. But what does it actually do to our bodies? What kinds of stress can we avoid, and what can we do to mitigate the effects of unavoidable stress? Here are your answers. (If you still have questions after reading this, please send us a message at

Your autonomic nervous system operates the sympathetic and parasympathetic nervous systems, which function involuntarily. Parasympathetic, called “rest and digest,” is what you want to use the majority of the time.

The sympathetic governs your “fight or flight” response when under stress. Your heart rate goes up, your eyes dilate, and one’s lungs have the ability to inflate at an increased rate. Chemically, both your cortisol and epinephrine increase. This is vitally important if you are running for your life…but it isn’t a state in which you want to stay. Long-term stress exposure can put a lot of wear and tear on every system, specific organs, immune system and hormone levels.

Can Mental Stress Really Affect Your Spine?

Many stresses in life can trigger the sympathetic system and get you stuck in “fight or flight.”

Emotional stress can come stem from our relationships, negative media and technology, trauma and loss. We tend to hold it in our shoulders, chest or lower back. The body is affected more and more as posture changes, often slouching down and inward, resulting in physical stress on the spine. More medical professionals are recognizing the affect depression and anxiety have on the body and vice versa.

Sleep patterns and sleep quality also suffer with mental stress, directly preventing the body from recharging and rejuvenating. Difficult emotions often lead to poorer food choices as well, stressing the body chemically.

Emotions tend to affect the first bone of the neck, the atlas, which surrounds the brain stem. This can cause headaches, digestive issues and more as so many nerves pass through the brain stem out to the rest of the body.

Chiropractic can help to alleviate and counterbalance these physical aspects of mental stress. Because the body and mind are linked so deeply, physically feeling better can be a huge mood boost too.

In turn, it’s universally acknowledged that erect posture improves with mental wellness and confidence; we see this with shoulders pulled back and the chest out, keeping the spine in alignment.

Stressful Careers

Physical stress can come from both sedentary and active lifestyles/careers. Sitting at an office involves micro-stressors that create “wear and tear,” especially on the lower back and neck. In turn, these jobs may have a level of mental stress that keeps the person tense, pulling on muscles, tendons and bones. Being adjusted removes the subluxations that occur from working hours in a bad posture, relieves this tension, and allows the body to communicate, heal, and function better together.

Active careers have more macro-stressors, including falls, heavy-lifting and impact injuries. With these stressors, hips and shoulders can be affected with heavy weight bearing, while low back and digestive issues can overlap.

With active jobs like law enforcement and military, it is common to be constantly on high alert, stressing the eyes and neck, and interfering with sleep patterns. These people are in a sympathetic state more often than not, resulting in fatigue, headaches, low focus and sleep troubles.

Chiropractic care assists active people to better regulate the highs and lows of their work life, and better mitigate the adrenaline crashes. Their sleep quality usually improves as well under regular chiropractic care. As these jobs often come with odd or ever-changing schedules, chiropractic helps them to better adapt to these changes.

First Step to Destressing

Give your body the gift of less stress and get adjusted today. Dr. Katie offers chiropractic care for adults, including a specific membership for law enforcement, first responders, and military.

Dr. Katie Schlein D.C. is a family chiropractor located in San Diego. You can learn more about her here. She specializes in prenatal, pediatric and youth athlete chiropractic care but serves families of all shapes, sizes and ages. Through mutual support and striving to understand her patients’ needs, Dr. Katie is committed to helping families reach their maximum health and living life more connected.



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