Emotional Stress And Your Spine

People have no problem understanding how a physical stress, such as falling, lifting, or repeated motions, can cause damage to the spine and nervous system.  On the other hand, chemical and emotional stresses may be a little more difficult to understand.

The muscles and glands of the body are highly impacted by chemical factors.  So yes, too much Starbucks can have a huge impact on the wellbeing of your spine and nervous system. Today, more than ever, we are hearing about the effect that emotional stress can have on the body. People understand the link between emotional stress and ulcers, heart disease and headaches.  Similarly, emotional stress can result in spinal misalignment (subluxation) along with the severe nerve impact those misalignments can make.

There are numerous mechanisms as to how stress pounds the spine, but research done at Ohio State University has recently shed some critical light on the subject. A group of college students repeatedly lifted 25-pound boxes while a special measuring device calculated the pressure on the students’ spines.  During the first half of the experiment researchers offered words of encouragement to the participants while they were performing their tasks.  In the second half of the experiment, the students were criticized, sort of like having your boss yelling at you while you are doing your job.  While some of the students were not bothered at all, others, particularly introverted students who did not handle criticism well and who dislike repetitive work to start with, demonstrated an almost 27% increase in pressure on the spine.[1. Popular Science, May 2001, page 43]

A 27% increase of pressure on the spine is more than enough to subluxate a person.  William Marras, professor of industrial engineering at OSU said, “What this shows is that there is a body-mind interaction that manifests itself as pressure on the spine.” Of course, if a person is already suffering from spinal alignment issues, then the spine is in a pre-weakened state so stress will have a far greater negative impact on someone’s health.  The researchers were limiting their research to job-related pressure but they concluded that the same findings could occur “anywhere exertion and stress combine.” That could be the pressure of athletic competition or even non-physical stressful situations like talking on the phone with the head titled at an angle, sitting at a computer, or any kind of repetitive work while experiencing the pressures of your job.[2. The prevalence of the term Subluxation in North Amercian English-Lanugage Doctor of Chiropractic Programs Mirtz 3TA, Perle SM. Chiropr Man Therap. 2011 Jun 17;19(1):14]

Except for major physical traumas, it is likely that almost all spinal issues occur as a result of a combination of physical, chemical, and emotional stresses upon the body.  Clearly, if you are subluxation free, already living with your spine in line, you will be better able to withstand those forces.  Yet, in this stressful world even the strongest spines will move out of a health position given certain circumstances.  That is why it is important to make sure your spine is currently in it’s ideal state and if not, to correct it.  Otherwise, daily stress will undoubtedly take it’s toll.

In our modern, stressful world most if not all people require some degree of spinal correction and then due to continued exposure to chemicals, stress, and physical trauma need to be on a spinal maintenance plan by a chiropractor that understands the ideal model of a spine and how to restore it if it’s lost.

Talk to a Maximized Living doctor in your area today.  You’ll be in good hands that literally know how to de-stress.