It’s no secret that Americans experience large amounts of stress in their daily lives. It’s also no secret that many insidious medical conditions are directly linked to the amount of stress we experience. So, if stress is making us sick, what do we do about it?
What is Stress?
Our bodies are equipped with a miraculous warning system called the “Fight or Flight” response. When it is activated, your digestion slows down, your pupils dilate, and your muscles store energy to prepare to either fend off an attack or run as fast as possible from a situation. Once the threat has passed, we naturally return to a state referred to as “rest and digest” where the digestive system resumes its function and the body rests before resuming its normal activity. The trouble is, your brain cannot distinguish between an encounter with a saber-toothed tiger and a looming deadline at work. As a result, most of us live in a perpetual state of fight or flight without ever returning to rest and digest.
Stress and Health
Chronic stress can lead to a host of health problems. These can include:
- Digestive issues such as heartburn, acid indigestion, IBS, constipation, or diarrhea
- High blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Weight gain, especially around the belly
- Muscle pain
- Hormonal Imbalances
The problem is that most people cannot simply eliminate emotional stress in their lives in order to enjoy better health. Instead, they tend to treat the physical symptoms of stress. Fortunately, there are treatment options available to help your body cope with daily stressors and relieve any physical discomfort.
Best Stress Treatment
Stress treatments should be multi-faceted to address not only the physical symptoms but the emotional symptoms as well.
Whether the stress in your life is real or simply perceived, acupuncture offers a safe, effective treatment for the physical effects of stress on your body. By inserting thin needles just beneath the surface of the skin, acupuncturists can safely release endorphins throughout your body to naturally decrease stress levels. Patients report a feeling of happiness and general wellness both during and after treatments.
Medically, acupuncture promotes a level of homeostasis in your body to lessen the extremes of your stress response. This treatment calms the nervous system and lowers blood pressure. Best of all, these effects last long after the treatment is over. Most notably, acupuncture reduces the irritability so often associated with stress. Instead of feeling tired and moody, acupuncture allows you to experience daily stressors without the mood shifts.
Chiropractic care can also impact the way your body experiences stress. By eliminating any impediments to the nervous system, electrical impulses travel from the brain to the body and back to the brain the way they should. As a result, the entire body functions better while relieving the aches and pains that so often accompany stress.
Studies have shown that human touch lowers heart rate, relieves pain, and reduces physical stress. That is why massage is such a powerful stress treatment option. Massage doesn’t just take place in a relaxing environment, it eases pain, lowers blood pressure, improves immune function, and reduces tension in the neck, shoulders, and back.
Even if you cannot reduce the amount of stress on your body, you can improve your body’s function in stressful situations through functional medicine modalities. Fueling your body properly through the food you eat, strategic supplementation and bioidentical hormone replacement therapy gives decreases the physical effects of stress.
Whether your job is overwhelming or you are feeling the effects of stress in your daily life, you don’t have to suffer through. Call our office today or schedule online to learn about our treatment options for the physical effects of stress and start living a fuller, happier life.