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How Your Pain and Stress are Connected

Stressed out? Chiro can help!

If you’re feeling stuck in a constant cycle of pain and stress, it may be time to visit your chiropractor! Not only does chiropractic care physically ease tension, but Chiropractic care also helps reduce chronic stress. That’s a great 2 for 1 benefit if you ask me!

Most people visit the chiropractor to ease their aches and pains. Makes sense, as abnormal pressure within the joints creates overall tension, and chiropractic's best benefit is to improve this pressure and ease muscle tension.

But, did you know that pain releases the same hormone that is associated with stress? Yes, I’m talking about cortisol! Ooooh that tricky hormone just loves to overload us sometimes. It’s no wonder that when you are in pain, you also feel edgy, irritable and stressed out.

Chiropractic can also help with regulating your nervous system from “Fight or Flight” to “Rest and Digest.”

When our body feels increased stress, our nervous system helps us try to “out run” that physical threat! But we can stay within that sympathetic response continuously without realizing it. If you’ve had a difficult time finding ways to manage your pain, it can take a toll on your emotions—you may feel angry, frustrated, anxious, or depressed.

This leads to stress being a literal pain

Stress can make your chronic pain worse by causing your muscles to tense up or spasm. When you feel stressed, levels of that tricky hormone cortisol rise, which causes inflammation and pain over time.

Luckily, your chiropractor can help reduce stress through the following four ways:

  • Reduce muscle tension

  • Restore function to the nervous system with adjustments to the spine

  • Counsel with you about nutrition

  • Offer relaxation tips

Reducing Muscle Tension Helps Reduce Stress

As you encounter stress, your muscles become tense. You allow most things to impede the way you hold yourself walking and sitting. Over time, this takes a toll as you begin to get less sleep and lose the ability to focus because your body is now in pain. A chiropractor can help loosen the tension you are feeling. With adjustments to the spine, your chiropractor restores your body to its natural balance.

Spinal Adjustments Help Restore Function to the Body

Your spine is literally the backbone of your neurological system. Your brain communicates everything, including functions such as breathing and swallowing, with the help of the spine. As you feel stress and begin to tense up, this causes your spine to move. Visiting the chiropractor for an adjustment will help your spine restore function to your body. You may find yourself to be sick less, have more energy and feel less stressed overall.

Good Nutrition is Always Helpful

You may think food helps to calm stress, but really, it puts more stress on your already tired body. Good nutrition is the foundation of maintaining your health. It is most important to embrace good nutrition when you want to do it the least. Chiropractors can do much more than adjustments to your spine. Your chiropractor can help counsel you on your nutrition, including supplements your body may be lacking.

Need Help Relaxing?

When you are stressed, it is nearly impossible to relax. Mostly because people do not use great posture, then this causes unnecessary stress on your spine. Your chiropractor will also help you work on your posture. Both posture exercises and relaxation techniques will help your body get to a state of relaxation that may help restore your ability to get quality sleep.

*However, if you have consistently high levels of cortisol, your body can get used to having too much cortisol in your blood, which can lead to inflammation.

There are simple, everyday things you can do to reduce your stress/cortisol levels:

  • Laughing and enjoying yourself: Laughing promotes the release of endorphins and suppresses cortisol. Participating in hobbies and fun activities can also promote feelings of well-being, which may lower your cortisol levels.

  • Deep breathing

  • Better sleep

  • Exercise

  • Manage stress

  • Maintain healthy relationships

*How ACUTE PAIN and CHRONIC PAIN are related.

Reference: PubMed, Journal of American Physical Therapy:,%2Dinflammatory%20hormone%2C%20cortisol).

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