The Impact of Chronic Stress During the Holiday Season (any Season, really)
Unpopular opinion: stress can actually be a good thing. If a lion were chasing you, an increase in heart rate, muscle tension, and focus would hopefully help you escape unharmed!
Thankfully, we don’t need to worry about being chased by a lion today. It might be someone cutting you off in traffic while you’re in a rush that could put your body into the same fight or flight mode. Remember the last time you saw a car veering into your lane, and your heart rate went through the roof? That is an acute stress response in action. Your brain and body respond to negative stress whether real or imagined, and chronic stress can have a profound impact on your health.
Remember, in the short term, acute stress can be a good thing. It helps us react quickly. Your brain tells your adrenal glands to release hormones (chemicals) that help your body respond in an instant. If, however, that stress continues, you may slip into chronic stress mode, which can wreak havoc on your brain and body. What’s more, the symptoms of chronic pain and chronic stress overlap and often feed into each other. This is the very definition of a vicious cycle. Sometimes having chronic pain can create stress, and of course, vice versa.
Did you know:
- Chronic stress can lead to anxiety, depression, headaches, sleep problems, and potentially more
- Stress, pain, and inflammation are all connected by the stress hormone cortisol.
- Spinal adjustments may be able to decrease your cortisol level.
We repeat, emerging research has shown that chiropractic care, specifically spinal adjustments, may help to decrease your body’s overall stress level. Be sure to keep an eye on your stress level this holiday season (or any season, really!) If you start to feel it rising, we hope you’ll give us a call and make an appointment for a tension relieving, soothing adjustment. Let’s work together to keep that stress from becoming chronic and making sure you can enjoy the holidays ahead!
Stress Management. Mayo Clinic. 2020. Chronic Stress, Cortisol Dysfunction, and Pain: Stress Management. Physical Therapy. 2014.
Reduction of Cortisol Levels in a Patient Undergoing Chiropractic Management. JCC. 2020.