The Daily Grind and Your Spine
By now, you've probably heard that stress is not good for you. It can cause or worsen many illnesses, including high blood pressure, diabetes, gastro-intestinal conditions, hormonal imbalances, immune deficiencies, even cancer.
With this month's issue focusing on dental health, you've no doubt read that stress, which is not addressed, can lead to jaw clenching and grinding your teeth during sleep.
How many of you have woken up with your jaw muscles tight and sore or with a headache from all the tension? Obviously, “Houston, we have a problem.”
After protecting your precious chompers with a visit to your dentist, consider returning to face one of the probable causes of all this tension in the first place the invisible demon, stress. Did you know that chiropractors are trained to help their patients better manage stress? After all, chiropractic does not just help neck and back pain.
When a chiropractic adjustment aligns your spine, it takes unnecessary pressure off your joints, muscles, ligaments and nerves. Most importantly, proper alignment of your spine allows your nervous system to function optimally. However, inversely, chronic muscle and nervous tension from on-going stress can lead to subluxations, simply put, misalignment of the bones which make up your spine.
As a chiropractor and former therapist, I can help you learn ways to adapt your daily habits and teach you techniques for achieving deep relaxation. In turn, these changes in your lifestyle may help keep your spine from becoming subluxated.
Proper stretching and daily exercise, such as yoga or pilates, are very effective at releasing muscle tension. Focusing on good postural habits and proper ergonomics is also very helpful.
Deep breathing, guided imagery and meditation are wonderful techniques for reducing your stress levels. Additionally, journaling and changing your ways of thinking, through the use of cognitive behavioral therapy, can lessen the amount of emotional stress you carry around on your shoulders.
No one ever said life is easy. Every one of us copes with a certain amount of job, home and family “stuff” everyday. It's a worthwhile goal to strive for a stress-free mecca. However, remember to keep in mind the oft-quoted “Serenity Prayer” “God (or higher power, universe, etc.) grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference.”
Hopefully, you will come to realize there is much you can do to change the impact that stress has on your body.