Who would have ever believed that the thoughts that occur inside our heads would cause the nervous system to decline functionally? Let us be more specific. Not every thought causes a declining nervous system. When we refer to thoughts, we are talking about everyday stressors. In this week’s blog, we will continue our series on the 3 T’s of chiropractic by first discussing thoughts. We will identify why different stressors may cause the nervous system function to decline and explain what can be done to reduce stress.
Over the past year, we have provided patients with a weekly blog to educate and inform patients on a variety of topics. In over half of our blogs, we discussed what the nervous system does and how nerve interference affects the body.
The Relationship Between the Nervous System and Endocrine System
Just to refresh your mind, the nervous system controls everything that we do daily, such as moving, feeing, breathing, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, etc. Without the nervous system, human survival would be impossible.
The nervous system is also responsible for the secretion of hormones. Hormones are chemical substances that are activated by the nervous system to stimulate specific cells or tissues into action. Most hormones are secreted from the pituitary gland in the brain, but other glands within the body also secrete hormones. Regardless of the gland location, the brain and nervous system are essential for successful hormonal secretion.
There are three different hormones that respond to a stress response. These hormones are cortisol, epinephrine, and norepinephrine and they are stored in the adrenal glands, a gland on top of each kidney. Below is a brief description of each hormone.
Cortisol- Its main function is that it regulates your body’s stress response, but it also helps control the body’s use of fats, proteins, carbohydrates, and metabolism.
Epinephrine (Adrenaline)- It plays an important role in the body’s “fight-or-flight” response. This response allows different bodily functions such as pupil dilation, smooth muscle contraction, increased heart rate, etc.
Norepinephrine (Noradrenaline)- It also plays an important role in the body’s “fight-or-flight” response. Norepinephrine does the opposite bodily functions that epinephrine does such as pupil constriction, smooth muscle relaxation, and decreases heart rate; however, it could also increase heart rate and blood pressure.
How Does Stress Interfere with the Nervous System?
Look at the chart below. As you will see, the three stress hormones travel to different organs and the entire body. All these organs have nerves that innervate so that they can function properly. These nerves come directly from the spinal cord and send messages to and from the brain. If you recall, the spine is the protective hardcase for the spinal cord. When one or more vertebrae is out of alignment, it impinges on nerve roots. Over time, if an impinged nerve root is not repaired, organs will not function efficiently.
This is when stress and thoughts come into play. When organs aren’t functioning properly, the stress hormones are secreted to try and balance out the body (Because the nervous system is impaired). Unnecessary stress hormones secretion occurs, causing health complications such as high blood pressure, rapid heart rate, weight gain, diabetes, fatigue, mood swings, depression, etc.
How do thoughts tie into the release of our stress hormones? All people deal with stress at some point in their lifetimes. Common stressors include work, family/friend deaths, marriage, raising children, arguments and disputes, addictions, etc. Whenever we become stressed, the stress hormones are released to help balance out the body. If there is no nerve interference, the body will balance out accordingly; however, if nerve interference is present, the body may begin to experience those health complications previously mentioned.
What Can We Do to Help?
There are two ways that we can help. First, we will create a treatment plan that is tailored to your needs. We know it sounds crazy, but chiropractors can help relieve stress with routine chiropractic adjustments. The chart above is the Autonomic Nervous System with its two subcategories: the Sympathetic Nervous System and the Parasympathetic Nervous System. When these counterparts are on overdrive, it is called sympathetic overload, and it causes more pain and organ malfunction. In a few weeks, we will have a blog focusing on the Autonomic Nervous System, so stay tuned.
Getting adjusted regularly will realign the spine and remove nerve interference. In addition, it will calm the nervous system and remove the body from sympathetic overload.
Second, we can provide patients with recommended remedies to do at home. These activities may be ones that you already enjoy to help relieve stress. Some people like playing sports, reading, doing puzzles or crosswords, watching TV, working out, going out with friends, or even sleeping. Studies show that doing something you enjoy helps keep the mind clear and reduces stress significantly. If you don’t know what your personal stress reliever is, let us know and we will be glad to help.
To conclude, stress can be a major health concern to the human body, but everyone deals with it. We just need to learn to cope and manage it. When you are in the middle of a stressor, close your eyes, take a deep breath, and know that you have ways to relieve stress at the end of the day. As we continue our series on the 3 T’s of Chiropractic, please present to us any questions or concerns by calling us at (724) 547-3377 and checking out our website at www.drlarrywilkinsspinalcare.com for more blog content.
Yours In Health,
Larry E. Wilkins, DC
Brian M. Steinert, DC