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Thoughts, Traumas, and Toxins

Mom in distressed with childrenThough the name, “Palmer” does not mean a lot to individuals outside of chiropractic, the father/son duo of D.D. and B.J. are often referred to as the inventors of the profession. One of the most profound discoveries that they are accredited for is the theory behind what causes subluxations (or when our vertebrae/appendages deviate from ideal alignment). The Palmer’s believed that thoughts, traumas, and toxins can all contribute a huge role in what happens to our nervous system and thus the anatomy that is so closely intertwined with it.

Now, traumas and toxins should catch no one by surprise. It stands to reason that if one is in a severe car accident, the likelihood of said individual’s vertebrae to be “jacked up,” is significantly higher. Additionally, if their neighbor happens to be going on their 15th year of being a pack/day smoker, the poison can begin to show it’s lasting effects (if not well before this) on their nervous system and health as a whole. I find that many people can get behind these two detrimental factors.

The third option (“thoughts“), however, seemed a little more hocus-pocus (forgive the Halloween pun) to me…or at least, at first. Bear with me, though, for a couple of scenarios specifically related to stress and thoughts surrounding stimulating events, and I think that you’ll find this theory easier to believe.

Stress is difficult to define in a descriptive box, but everyone knows the feeling.

It’s day 2 of finals week. It’s that report for the budget meeting that is due in 1 hour and the printer broke. It’s when Billy spilled his milk and the dog peed on the floor, and you still need to comb Susie’s hair before the bus arrives in 2 minutes.

The States of Stress

Recall with me one of your first visits at Health 1st, when Dr. Gina ran the nervoscope up your spine to determine if you tended to be more in the parasympathetic (rest/digest) or sympathetic (fight/flight) nervous system. Too much time in the sympathetic/stress-driven ‘setting’ and the hormone cortisol focuses your body strictly on survival, thus neglecting overall well-being. Before too long, you may begin to notice certain changes: more headaches, perhaps neck and shoulder pain, etc.

Now, think of yourself in the state that preceded the pain as you were in your flight or fight kids-to-the-bus scenario. Your neck was strained as your muscles lurched your head forward, whipping around being supermom. Your heart rate was elevated and you felt your emotions start to get out of control, especially considering your lack of sleep the night prior. All of these factors contribute to higher levels of cortisol being released and your body trying to fight off the next attacker.

Please don’t misunderstand the purpose of this blog. This is not some pity-party for how stressed everyone is or a desire for some sort of nirvana or Akuta-Matata. Stress can be a very good thing and the right amount of it can push us to be better than we were yesterday. However, if we spend too much time in our sympathetic state and don’t allow our body the recoup that it needs, symptoms will most assuredly begin to surface.

So what can we do about it?

Well, we have talked a lot in posts of weeks past about controlling the controllables. Emotional stressors are no different. Did you know that one of the biggest causes of elevated cortisol is a lack of sleep? In addition to putting your body at a disadvantage to starting it’s next day, you’re also forcing it to hold onto excess weight and greatly increases the likelihood of acne and other breakouts. So that is one HUGE way to combat stressors.

Another underrated one is screens! Blue-light can be a stressor. Aka: Scrolling, posting, and binging Netflix is NOT recoup. They are all additional stimuli that can put us back into a processing mode that doesn’t allow for the parasympathetic nervous system to fully run it’s course. All of these things are fine, but consider alternative options. Take the dog for a walk, meditate, practice deep breathing, and go to bed earlier so that you can crush the next day more effectively.

Our bodies are wonderful things that have been made to adapt and move and perform and create and work. If you’ve been hit by an especially stressful time and you begin to show aches and pains and additional signs and symptoms, take note!

Now that you are educated as to what your body is doing, how can you set it up for success so that these occurrences don’t become a regularity? I hope this better prepares you to punch your day in the face.

Until next time,

– Brock Baumgarn, CA, Nutrition Consultant, Health 1st Chiropractic

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