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Posted on 10-25-2010

Did Someone Say Stress?

 

The holidays are here!  For many this is a very stressful time.  Along with the holiday season our modern life is full of pressure, stress and frustration.  Worrying about your job security, being overworked, and driving in rush-hour traffic, arguing with your spouse- all these create stress. According to a recent survey by the American Psychology Association, fifty-four percent of Americans are concerned about the level of stress in their everyday lives and two-thirds of Americans say they are likely to seek help for stress.  Your bodies' response to stress can have a long term affect on your body and cause many health problems.  Dixon Center offers many alternatives to stress relief such as, regular chiropractic care, massage and acupuncture.  Click here for additional information and to learn how Dixon Center can help you through this stress filled season!

The Stress Response

Often referred to as the "fight-or-flight" reaction, the stress response occurs automatically when you feel threatened.  Your body's fight-or-flight reaction has strong biological roots.  It's there for self-preservation. This reaction gave early humans the energy to fight aggressors or run from predators and was important to help the human species survive.  But today, instead of protecting you, it may have the opposite effect.  If you are constantly stressed you may actually be more vulnerable to life-threatening health problems.

Any sort of change in life can make you feel stressed, even good change.  It's not just the change or event itself, but also how you react to it that matters.  What may be stressful is different for each person.  For example, one person may not feel stressed by retiring from work, while another may feel stressed. 

How stress affects your body

When you experience stress, your pituitary gland responds by increasing the release of a hormone called adrenocorticotropic hormone (ACTH). When the pituitary sends out this burst of ACTH, it's like an alarm system going off deep inside your brain.  This alarm tells your adrenal glands, situated atop your kidneys, to release a flood of stress hormones into your bloodstream, including cortisol and adrenaline.  These stress hormones cause a whole series of physiological changes in your body, such as increasing your heart rate and blood pressure, shutting down your digestive system, and altering your immune system.  Once the perceived threat is gone, the levels of cortisol and adrenaline in your bloodstream decline, and your heart rate and blood pressure and all of your other body functions return to normal. 

 

If stressful situations pile up one after another, your body has no chance to recover. This long-term activation of the stress-response system can disrupt almost all your body's processes.  Some of the most common physical responses to chronic stress are experienced in the digestive system.  For example, stomach aches or diarrhea are very common when you're stressed. This happens because stress hormones slow the release of stomach acid and the emptying of the stomach. The same hormones also stimulate the colon, which speeds the passage of its contents.

Chronic stress tends to dampen your immune system as well, making you more susceptible to colds and other infections. Typically, your immune system responds to infection by releasing several substances that cause inflammation.  Chronic systemic inflammation contributes to the development of many degenerative diseases.

 Stress has been linked with the nervous system as well, since it can lead to depression, anxiety, panic attacks and dementia. Over time, the chronic release of cortisol can cause damage to several structures in the brain.  Excessive amounts of cortisol can also cause sleep disturbances and a loss of sex drive. The cardiovascular system is also affected by stress because there may be an increase in both heart rate and blood pressure, which may lead to heart attacks or strokes.

How Dixon Center Can Help

Regular Chiropractic care can help your body maintain calm by targeting your immune system which directly affects your digestive and nervous systems.

Massage….Massage not only allows the muscles to function normally, but also increases mobility, flexibility and blood flow thus relieving general tension and stress.  What helps to heal the body can also relax the mind and soothe the soul.

 Acupuncture….The World Health Organization recognizes acupuncture's effectiveness for over 40 common disorders such as stress, respiratory disorders, gastrointestinal disorders, psycho emotional and neurological disorders.

 

Call us today for a free consultation!

 

 

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