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Anybody stressed? Chiropractic can help

by Dr. Amy Spoelstra
| December 15, 2010 8:00 PM

I love the holidays and all the fun and special times that come along with it, but unfortunately the nasty six letter word - stress - comes along with the bright lights and mistletoe. Stress not only affects our emotional well-being and our moods but our bodies as well. Research shows that stress and unhealthy behaviors contribute to some of our country's biggest health problems such as obesity, heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes. Stress can also build up inside the body and manifest as back pain, neck pain or headaches. Did you know that stress can also cause damage to muscle tissue, can add to infertility and damage the immune response? We perceive stress from three basic sources: our environment, our body and our emotions. If you think about it, all three are especially challenged at this time of year.

So how can a chiropractor help with stress during the warm and sunny days of summer as well as these busy, festive days in December? Chiropractors work primarily with the spine, the root of the nervous system through which nerve impulses travel from the brain to the rest of the body. One common symptom of stress is muscle tension and contraction. Muscle tension can create a subluxation of one or more of the 24 bones of the spine. A subluxation occurs when a spinal bone is out of place. Often the misaligned bone may be impinging on a nerve which may or may not be causing pain. Even if there is no pain, damage may be occurring to your health as the nerves that enter and exit through the spinal column may not be able to do their job effectively thus illness, disease and permanent damage may be evolving. With chiropractic adjustments, subluxations can be corrected thus allowing the nervous system to work the way it was meant to. That muscle tension that may be felt throughout the body due to stress can be returned to a more balanced, relaxed state with correction of a subluxation. An adjustment can reduce spinal nerve irritation and improve blood circulation. When this happens, I'm certain you'll not only feel better, more energetic and more calm, but you'll be better able to fight off the nasty colds and flu that so many suffer with during the holidays.

As for stressors specific to the holidays, one of the first things we think of is the temptation to eat more and exercise less. Parties, family gatherings and even shopping bring out the opportunity to fill up on more of the unhealthy foods we tend to crave when we're stressed. Not to cause you more stress by mentioning this, but did you know that a bulging stomach can put pressure on your body's support systems, including your spine and spinal nerves? Every extra pound in the abdominal region could put 10 pounds more stress on the lower back. Extra weight can bring about a shift in the pelvis and torso. This can cause a change in spinal balance, which leads to spinal misalignments and malfunctioning in the entire body. Just a friendly reminder... Moderation is the key in enjoying the holiday treats and sweets! This also holds true for exercise. Don't stop your exercise regimen all together even though you may not have the time you'd like to keep up with your usual routine. Find the time to take a walk and I'm sure you'll enjoy the extra vitamin D as well as find yourself more relaxed and energized to get back to your holiday preparations.

Last but not least, I need to remind you all that if you are under the care of a chiropractor, please be sure to find the time to keep your appointments. If you haven't had your spine checked by a chiropractor, now is the time to make that appointment.

We can be reached by calling (208) 667-7434 or stopping by our office at 370 E. Kathleen Ave., Suite 600 in Coeur d'Alene. If you make an appointment during December, your initial exam will be only $40.00 if you bring a toy in for the Marine's Toys for Tots program. This will include the exam, x-rays (if needed), diagnostic testing and the report of findings. Give yourself the gift of health today!

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